- Ag faculty approves new major
- Evaluating advisers
- Ag majors in Hixson awardees
- Visiting professors 1994-95
- Private and public transitions
- Students in Service: Design teams
- Creative problem-solving
- Federal research funds
- Our community of concern
- And it doesn't mind the swishing tail
C O L L E G E N E W S
AG FACULTY APPROVES NEW MAJOR
The College of Agriculture faculty has approved a proposal for
a new undergraduate major in agricultural communications in the
Department of Agricultural Education and Studies. Next, the proposal
goes to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee for consideration.
It would eventually need final approval from the Board of Regents.
The department began studying the need for the new major two years
ago. The program would aim to meet the needs of students who are
interested in communication careers in agriculture. Under the
proposal, the program would use existing courses; no new courses
would be added.
The College of Agriculture's Academic Affairs Committee has unanimously
recommended that departments have students complete annual evaluations
of their advisers. Departments are encouraged to use or modify
existing university evaluation forms, or to develop their own.
The committee, which continues to offer professional development
programs for new and present advisers, hopes that departments
will use the evaluations to improve advising. In a 1993 university
survey, College of Agriculture students gave high ratings to their
advisers and how they met their needs. For more information:
Les Wilson, committee chair (or Doug Kenealy, committee chair
beginning July 1), or Tom Polito, Student Services.
AG MAJORS IN HIXSON AWARDEES
Of the 105 Iowa high school seniors who were presented Christina
Hixson Opportunity Awards from ISU, 19 have declared majors within
the College of Agriculture. These students, who will begin classes
this fall, are the first recipients of the $2,500 awards. The
awards are given to at least one student from each Iowa county.
VISITING PROFESSORS 1994-95
Twenty College of Agriculture professors gave a total of 51 educational
presentations in 27 Iowa high schools during the 1994-95 academic
year. The Visiting Professor Program, sponsored by the college's
Office of Academic Programs, provides presentations to high school
classes at no cost. Since it began in 1990, 144 teachers at 112
schools have taken advantage of the program. Topics addressed
this year by visiting professors included agricultural careers
for the future; ethical questions of agricultural biotechnology;
and "The Amazing World Inside the Rumen, or How a Cow Can
Make Milk from Your Old Term Paper."
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC TRANSITIONS
"Our society and the international community are in accelerated
change or public transition. You are making a private transition
in a period of great public transition . . . Do not be frustrated
by the establishment and the institutions and leaders that control
the society you will join. Their job is to keep the existing system
together and functioning. Your job is to articulate your new ideas
and concepts clearly and focus on the changes in basic structures
and institutions that can support them." From the May 13
commencement address at ISU given by Stan Johnson, director, Center
for Agricultural and Rural Development, and C.F. Curtiss Distinguished
Professor of Economics.
STUDENTS IN SERVICE: DESIGN TEAMS
Agricultural and biosystems engineering students have been involved
in projects to develop solutions to environmental problems. One
design team has worked with a feedlot operator on a low-odor system
for manure collection and application that utilizes available
nutrients and prevents water and air pollution. Another design
team has worked with an Iowa manufacturer on a system that places
herbicides on soil instead of on crop residues in no-till and
C O M M U N I C A T I O N S K I O S K
In "The Creative Mind," author Margaret Boden describes
some of the steps that should be taken to tap into one's creativity
for problem-solving. First, creative thought is preceded by "incubation,"
or a period of intense concentration on the problem. Next, education
-- exposure to diverse experiences and subjects -- is associated
with creative thinking. Finally, play is important. Relaxing and
downtime are key to creativity; the eureka stage often occurs
when creative people take a break. (Investor's Business Daily,
I N F O G R A Z I N G
FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDS
Some recent developments on the status of federal research funds:
The Department of Energy plans to cut more than $14 billion from
its budget over the next five years without jettisoning any research
programs. Science advocates in Congress praised the plan, but
DOE officials say it will not relieve pressure to drop several
proposed research facilities. This week the Senate approved a
budget resolution with an amendment that restored $7 billion in
funding to the National Institutes of Health. The original resolution
had cut $8 billion from NIH over the next seven years. (About
half of the federal grant monies the Experiment Station receives
are from the USDA; the other half come from other agencies. More
on the status of USDA funds next issue.)
E X T E R N A L V O I C E S
OUR COMMUNITY OF CONCERN
"We are truly on the threshold of a different world, one
in which technology is creating a global community in which very
different people are forced to live together . . . Our community
of concern should extend far beyond those within our society .
. . After all, we live in a world which we now recognize is an
ecosystem, a network of interdependencies among all parts of the
earth . . . While the problems we face in the future are clearly
difficult . . . hope lies in our determination to learn compassion,
to champion justice and to embrace the entire earth as our home."
From the May 13 commencement address at the University of Northern
Iowa given by graduating senior Heather Martin. She is the daughter
of Barb Martin, an account specialist with the Experiment Station.
M A R G I N A L I A
AND IT DOESN'T MIND THE SWISHING TAIL
Cows seeking udder relief can now queue up for robotic milking.
Wearing a computer chip in her collar for identification, the
cow can amble up to the machine when she feels the urge, and a
robot equipped with ultrasonic sensors does the rest. The $250,000
three-stall milker reduces labor costs while allowing for three
milkings a day, but it can't handle high volume and is best suited
to 60-100 cow herds. The new technology, used in Holland and at
least four other countries, still is plagued with glitches and
may not be attractive in the U.S. environment of larger herds
and less government support for dairy production. But cows like
it, says a University of Guelph staff member, adding that some
cows would come through many times a day "if we let them."
(Wall Street Journal, May 8).