Issue: 144

COLLEGE NEWS

- May 6 convocation for graduating seniors

- The Engaged Institution: Disciplines the main hurdle

- The Engaged College: Examples in agriculture

- The Engaged College: Dairy extension in the Midwest

- The Engaged College: Rural life roundtable

- Living tribute to Oklahoma City bomb victims

- Ag leadership class spiffs up Dairy Barn Pavilion

- Cuba trip to study sustainable and urban agriculture

- Tee it up at Alumni Days golf tournament

- Think Tank on Animal Agriculture postones meeting

- Next Agronomy Day to germinate in 2001

- Deadlines & Reminders

COMMUNICATIONS KIOSK

- Ich bin ein Web translator

INFOGRAZING

- Internet resources from The Chronicle of Higher Ed

INTERNAL VOICES

- Oklahoma City tragedy becomes part of student’s life

EXTERNAL VOICES

- A thought on exams before finals week

MARGINALIA

- PowerPoint: Apocalypse now, or from here to eternity?

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C O L L E G E N E W S

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MAY 6 CONVOCATION FOR GRADUATING SENIORS

Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the college’s convocation on May 6 to honor 420 seniors who will graduate. Charles Stewart, Jr., senior in agricultural biochemistry and past president of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources & Related Sciences, will speak to spring and summer semester graduates at the convocation, which is set to begin at 9 a.m. in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. The doors open at 8 a.m. and refreshments will be available at 8:15 a.m. University commencement begins at 2 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum.

THE ENGAGED INSTITUTION: DISCIPLINES THE MAIN HURDLE

Departmental culture is the biggest hurdle for universities to overcome in order to embrace the idea of engagement, according to Graham Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University. Spanier spoke to 75 faculty and staff at Monday’s College of Agriculture professional development meeting on "The Engaged Institution." Faculty members’ allegiance often is to a national discipline and not to university objectives and local responsibilities, Spanier said. ISU President Martin Jischke agreed, saying there is strength and societal virtue in disciplines, but that alone is not enough for a university to play its role in society. Universities must have the capacity to understand how the world is changing, what their responsibilities are and muster the will to do something, Jischke said.

THE ENGAGED COLLEGE: EXAMPLES IN AGRICULTURE

Engagement has been defined as developing new two-way partnerships with constituents to accomplish land-grant missions. At Monday’s professional development meeting on "The Engaged Institution," College of Agriculture faculty and staff presented examples of engagement. In the next several issues Ag Online will run a series of items from these presentations. The first two are below.

THE ENGAGED COLLEGE: DAIRY EXTENSION IN THE MIDWEST

For almost 50 years, dairy extension specialists in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota have met annually to share ideas. Half of the U.S. dairy producers are located in the four states. About 10 years ago the group expanded to include specialists in forage, agricultural engineering, farm management and veterinary medicine. The group has collaborated on educational projects that have included seminars, workshops, conferences, publications and CD-ROMs. The engagement has been the cooperative spirit among the state specialists and among academia, producers and support industry. For more information: Lee Kilmer, animal science, 4-2116 or lhkilmer@iastate.edu.

THE ENGAGED COLLEGE: RURAL LIFE ROUNDTABLE

Paul Lasley, sociology, recently helped ISU students become engaged in a discussion of Iowa’s future. Lasley was invited to testify before Governor Vilsack’s Strategic Planning Council and help lead the discussion. On Feb. 22 the council held a roundtable discussion in Des Moines on the future of rural life in Iowa and to address what it would take to make the state the food capital of the world. Lasley involved five ISU undergraduate students to the discussion, which was aired live on WOI Radio. (An edited transcript is on the web: http://www.woi.org/roundtablefeb2000HL.htm.) While in Des Moines, Lasley learned that none of the students had visited the Capitol when the Legislature was in session, so he took them on a tour to show them the inner workings of state government. For more information: Lasley, 4-0937 or plasley@iastate.edu.

LIVING TRIBUTE TO OKLAHOMA CITY BOMB VICTIMS

Last week Oklahoma City dedicated a memorial at the site where 168 people died in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. About a mile away, at the State Capitol grounds, a grove of little-leaf linden and prairiefire crab apple trees is thriving. The horseshoe-shaped bosk was developed by ISU horticulture students seven months after the bombing as a tribute to the victims. Friends and family members of the victims helped the students plant the 168 trees. The students’ trip was sponsored by the Iowa State Horticulture Society, which donated the trees and planting materials. Some of the larger trees are now five to six inches in diameter and 15 to 20 feet tall. (See "Internal Voices" below.)

AG LEADERSHIP CLASS SPIFFS UP DAIRY BARN PAVILION

The Dairy Barn Pavilion, south of the Towers Residence Halls, has been renovated by the 27 students in Agriculture Education 315 (Agricultural Leadership). Instructor Cary Trexler said students can become better leaders by doing service-learning projects in the community. He estimated the students put in 500 hours of work painting the inside and some exterior trim and doing landscaping. The class raised funds and in-kind contributions for the project. The class prepared educational materials for the groups of school children who visit the pavilion to learn about agriculture. Last fall students in Trexler's class planted about 8,500 bulbs around Curtiss Hall, which have been blooming this spring.

CUBA TRIP TO STUDY SUSTAINABLE AND URBAN AGRICULTURE

A group of ISU faculty, staff and students and Iowa farmers will travel to Cuba May 13-20 to learn about the country’s sustainable agriculture techniques and explore opportunities for exchanges. In the early ‘90s Cuba switched from a largely chemical-based agriculture to a largely organic system. Urban gardens are very important -- 6 percent of Cuba’s food supply is produced in Havana. The visit will be hosted by the Agrarian University of Havana and the Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians, a group of non-governmental organizations. The trip is coordinated by Mike Bell, sociology, and his graduate student, Jennifer Gay, who is conducting her research on urban food systems in Cuba. The Iowa group will include faculty and staff from agronomy, sociology and ISU Extension; a graduate student in agricultural education and studies; and two farmers who work with community-supported agriculture programs.

TEE IT UP AT ALUMNI DAYS GOLF TOURNAMENT

Agriculture faculty and staff are invited to participate in a golf tournament for college alumni during ISU Alumni Days, June 8-10. The event, sponsored by the Agriculture Alumni Society and the College of Agriculture, will be held Saturday, June 10, at Veenker Memorial Golf Course. For more information: Mike Telford, 4-3303 or mtelford@iastate.edu. College and department administrators will meet informally with ag alumni at a Reiman Gardens reception on June 9.

THINK TANK ON ANIMAL AGRICULTURE POSTONES MEETING

The April 24 meeting of the Think Tank on Animal Agriculture was postponed and will be rescheduled for the fall semester. Nolan Hartwig, production animal medicine, had planned to talk about disease problems in food animals. For more information: Don Beitz, dcbeitz@iastate.edu, or Gene Freeman, genef@iastate.edu.

NEXT AGRONOMY DAY TO GERMINATE IN 2001

The next Agronomy Day will be held Sept. 13, 2001, at the Agronomy & Agricultural Engineering Research Center west of Ames. The field day will include tours of research and demonstration plots, research posters, commercial exhibits and other displays. For more information: Stephen Barnhart, 4-1923, or Wayne King 4-0359.

DEADLINES & REMINDERS

May 1: Wallace Chair Lorna Michael Butler welcome reception, Campanile Room, Memorial Union, 4 p.m.

May 6: College of Agriculture Convocation for Graduating Seniors, C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, 9 a.m.

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C O M M U N I C A T I O N S K I O S K

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ICH BIN EIN WEB TRANSLATOR

If your French is rouillé or your German is kaput, you might want to try Babel Fish, a Web-based translator that converts text of up to 1,000 characters into English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. There also is a Russian to English option. (A visit to the site by an Ag Information staff member with a limited German vocabulary found the site did pretty well translating English to German.) The site also has a function to translate Web addresses. The AltaVista site is located at: http://babel.altavista.com/translate.dyn.

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I N F O G R A Z I N G

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INTERNET RESOURCES FROM THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER ED

Most of the content on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Web site has been available only to print subscribers. But The Chronicle recently made most of its articles on distance learning and information technology freely available to all, including its new section on Internet Resources. In addition to dozens of links to sites about higher education itself, the "academic subject areas" section connects you to professional associations and online libraries. Find it at: http://chronicle.com/free/resources/.

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I N T E R N A L V O I C E S

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OKLAHOMA CITY TRAGEDY BECOMES PART OF STUDENT’S LIFE

Viveka Ransom was one of the ISU students who in 1995 planted a grove of trees in Oklahoma City as a memorial to victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing (see item in "College News"). Ransom, who is now a graduate student at Cornell University, wrote an essay about her experience. Here’s an excerpt: "Even after arriving in Oklahoma, our purpose there felt unconnected to the Oklahoma City bombing . . . Curious about the bomb site, we climbed into our vans and drove a short ten minutes to the site we’d seen in the media so many times. It stood out in horrible contrast to the garden we had just left. The atrocity of the bombing crept into my heart as I stood there and looked around at the devastation . . . It had left scars behind, deep, terrible, painful ones. That was why we were planting the trees. They represented a token of healing, a way to bandage up the wounds and find peace with the senselessness of it all." [At the tree-planting ceremony, Ransom helped a man who’d lost his wife in the blast.] "His wife’s name was called and we started to walk away from the tree. Suddenly, he turned to me and hugged me tightly to him as he wept. He thanked me and wished me a safe journey home . . . He left me with such a deep impression that I knew I would not be able to just walk away. I now felt a part of this tragedy and it became part of me."

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E X T E R N A L V O I C E S

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A THOUGHT ON EXAMS BEFORE FINALS WEEK

"Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer." Charles Caleb Colton, an English sportsman and writer best known for his collection of aphorisms, "Lacon."

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M A R G I N A L I A

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POWERPOINT: APOCALYPSE NOW OR FROM HERE TO ETERNITY?

The Pentagon has declared war on PowerPoint presentations. Just as word processing made it easier to produce long, meandering memos, the spread of PowerPoint has unleashed a blizzard of jazzy but often incoherent visuals. The program has become so ingrained that it has seeped into military lexicon. "PowerPoint Ranger" is a derogatory term for a desk-bound bureaucrat more adept at making slides than tossing grenades. "The idea behind most of these briefings is for us to sit through 100 slides with our eyes glazed over, and then to do what all military organizations hope for . . . to surrender to an overwhelming mass," says Navy Secretary Richard Danzig. He maintains that PowerPoint briefings are only necessary for two reasons: if field conditions are changing rapidly or if the audience is "functionally illiterate." "In the Pentagon the second seems to be the underlying presumption," Danzig says, who now asks to get all his briefings in written form. (Wall Street Journal, April 26)

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AG ONLINE

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NEXT ISSUE: May 12 DEADLINE: May 10

EDITORS

Brian Meyer, bmeyer@iastate.edu, and Ed Adcock, edadcock@iastate.edu

Phone: (515) 294-5616 Web site: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/

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Ag Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture, is e-mailed every other Friday. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Ag Online subscribe" to bmeyer@iastate.edu. To unsubscribe, send "Ag Online unsubscribe."

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