Full steam ahead into fall

Three people stand together, writing on pieces of paper. A building, trees, and other people are in the background.
We had a great turnout at the CAHNRS Fall Festival last week.

The latter half of August felt a bit slow. That’s over. Meetings have picked up. Travel, too, is going strong. Fortunately, I missed out on United Airlines’ software crash last week and am confident I will return this week on time. I am back in town next week.

Plans are coming together to celebrate Washington agriculture at the Homegrown event on Sept. 23, the day of the Oregon State-WSU game in Pullman. While there won’t be block party games like last weekend, a number of the commodity groups will have samples of Washington products for the fans. If you are in town, please stop by to thank our farmers and let game-goers know how important it is to support those who keep our food supply healthy and plentiful.

The Center for Lignin Engineering, Analysis, and Research for Sustainable Technology team of National Science Foundation grant finalists that I mentioned last week did an amazing job on their recent site visit. I couldn’t stay through the full visit, but the team is a strong group who conveyed a well-thought-out plan and outstanding impact potential. I am particularly impressed with the level of coordination and effort it took just to host the site visit!

Now I am outside of Dallas, attending the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action (USFRA) annual meeting on sustaining agriculture’s contribution to economies and climate goals. Regenerative agriculture and workforce development are components of the conversation and strategy. I have just joined the group’s Science Advisory Council and am eager to see how we can use WSU’s science to work with USFRA partners. Friday, I return to Pullman for a full day of meetings. It will be nice to be back where the temperatures permit opening the windows at night.

I look forward to the daylong meeting with chairs and directors next week. We will focus on a limited number of items. Much of our time will be centered on the unit level ideas for proposals that will frame the programmatic vision for the college. I know units have had some good conversations, resulting in great ideas. During the daylong meeting, we will see what opportunities there are for cross-unit advancement of the ideas and finding support to implement them. It is important for me to have these visions in my head as I seek ways to make the ideas a reality. During the October roadshow/town halls, the associate deans and I will give faculty and staff an overview of what we heard.

I hear there is confusion about the October roadshow/town halls. I will try to clarify here, but please reach out if anything remains murky. During the window of Oct. 16-26, a team from CAHNRS leadership will visit eight locations across the state. At each location, we will meet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with any current faculty or staff able to attend. Before the end of September, current faculty and staff will receive a survey to RSVP their intent to participate at each of the locations. That survey will outline the common agenda for these eight meetings with current faculty and staff. At three of the eight locations, there will also be a late-afternoon networking hour open to retirees, alumni, partners, and community members. These are very informal, brief events with invitations handled by the host directors. A fourth networking event will be offered on a different date from that morning’s town hall. I hope that helps clear up any confusion.

Have a great remainder of the week. Get outdoors before fall allergies are in full swing!