Issue: 95

COLLEGE NEWS

- Funds for value-added, water quality, bioinformatics

- Faculty Senate OKs departmental changes

- Room changes for some Curtiss Hall offices

- Lincoln University delegation here June 10-12

- Communications option offered to ag ed students

- ISU hosts Austrians, returning favor from 1974

- ISU farm field days begin June 16

- Middle schoolers find ag careers deep-dish

- First how-to session on irradiation hosted by ISU

- Iowa-Illinois soybean research consortium formed

- USDA organizational charts available

- Ag dinner, reception during ISU Alumni Days

- Deadlines & Reminders

COMMUNICATIONS KIOSK

- On-line dictionaries linked

INFOGRAZING

- Undergrad teaching decried at research universities

- ISU forestry capstone course tests seniors

EXTERNAL VOICES

- Plant conservation in America

- Charismatic fauna overshadows troubled flora

- Species thrive enough to leave endangered list

MARGINALIA

- Personality crisis? Pass the puffs

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C O L L E G E N E W S

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FUNDS FOR VALUE-ADDED, WATER QUALITY, BIOINFORMATICS

The recently adjourned Iowa Legislature appropriated funds to ISU for several agricultural programs. ISU Extension received $916,000 for value-added agriculture initiatives, including $150,000 for food and fiber educational programs. Water-quality research related to waste from livestock operations will receive $300,000. Bioinformatics, a field that uses computer science, math and statistical expertise to make sense of genetic data, will receive $250,000 for work in plant sciences. Funds for private well testing totaled $50,000. Veterinary medicine will receive $50,000 for research on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).

FACULTY SENATE OKs DEPARTMENTAL CHANGES

The ISU Faculty Senate recently approved proposals involving college departments. The microbiology, immunology and preventive medicine department will separate into a microbiology department in the College of Agriculture and a veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine department in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The biochemistry and biophysics department will be known as biophysics, biochemistry and molecular biology. The colleges of agriculture and liberal arts and sciences will share administration of the botany department.

ROOM CHANGES FOR SOME CURTISS HALL OFFICES

Some room changes are in store for Curtiss Hall this summer. The moves will begin in early June. Gerald Miller, the new associate dean for extension, and his secretary will be housed in room 110. The Experiment Station office (Ramesh Kanwar, Shirley Riney and Carla Persaud) will move from room 111 to room 20. The Research and Demonstration Farms office will move from room 20 to room B1. The MidAmerica International Agriculture Consortium (MIAC) office (David Hansen and Shelley Taylor) will move from the Food Sciences Building to room 111.

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY DELEGATION HERE JUNE 10-12

Agriculture faculty, including the dean of agriculture, from Lincoln University of Jefferson City, Mo., will visit ISU June 10-12. The visit is part of an Experiment Station diversity program to promote collaborative research and enhance minority recruitment. More details in the next Ag Online.

COMMUNICATIONS OPTION OFFERED TO AG ED STUDENTS

This fall undergraduates majoring in agricultural education may choose a communications option. The new option will help prepare those interested in communications-intensive careers in personnel, training, negotiations, consulting, sales and other areas. In 1995, college faculty approved a proposal by the agricultural education and studies department to create an agricultural communications major. After several years of discussion, the communications option supplanted the major. The college curriculum committee and the Faculty Senate curriculum committee have approved the option. Teacher education is the other option offered in the major.

ISU HOSTS AUSTRIAN GROUP, RETURNING FAVOR FROM 1974

On May 4, Paul Brackelsberg and others in the animal science department hosted a group of Austrian high school students. One of the group’s leaders was an Austrian farmer who had hosted ISU students in a 1974 Ag Travel Course led by Brackelsberg and John Schafer, agronomy. The students work and study on a farm that is part of their high school. They toured ISU and the Swine Teaching Farm, and learned about pig production and meat processing and preservation. This is the second year the group has visited campus.

ISU FARM FIELD DAYS BEGIN JUNE 16

The Research and Demonstration Farms have set nine summer field days. Most of the farms also will host home garden demonstrations, which include sessions by ISU horticulturists. Ten more field days are scheduled for later in the summer and fall. A field days brochure is available at the Research and Demonstration Farms office, 20 Curtiss, or check the web at: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/farms/fielddays.html

MIDDLE SCHOOLERS FIND AG CAREERS DEEP-DISH

This weekend 40 middle-school students will be rolling in dough. They’ll participate in a Pizz-A-Thon at ISU, creating designer pizzas as part of a project to get young people interested in ag careers. Students have been working in teams at their schools (two in Des Moines, one in Warren County) to research and develop a new, best-selling pizza. Using dough and ingredients donated by local businesses, the teams will prepare, bake and taste-test their pies. Eldon Weber, ag education & studies, coordinates the project, which is sponsored by Vision 2020 and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

FIRST HOW-TO SESSION ON IRRADIATION HOSTED BY ISU

More than 50 representatives from the meat and poultry industry received training on irradiation at an ISU short course this week. This was the first how-to course on irradiation offered since the FDA approved the use of the technology on red meat. ISU's Linear Accelerator Facility is the only site in the country for training, demonstration and education on food irradiation. Participants were from as far away as Canada and Brazil.

IOWA-ILLINOIS SOYBEAN RESEARCH CONSORTIUM FORMED

The College of Agriculture and the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences have signed an agreement to work together on soybean research. Soybean industry representatives have helped identify the consortium’s research programs, which focus on precision agriculture, genetics and germplasm, functional foods and soy utilization. The two universities already cooperate on projects funded by the two states’ soybean producer boards. Iowa and Illinois produce 40 percent of the nation’s soybeans.

USDA ORGANIZATIONAL CHARTS AVAILABLE

Current organizational charts and contact information for the USDA, the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and USDA’s Research, Education and Economics are available by contacting Maureen Stohlmeyer, mstohlme@iastate.edu.

AG DINNER, RECEPTION DURING ISU ALUMNI DAYS

ISU’s annual Alumni Days will be held June 4-6. The classes of 1948, 1943, 1938, 1933, 1928 and 1923 will hold reunions. The College of Agriculture will hold a dinner for ag alumni on Thursday, June 4, at the Scheman Building and a morning reception on Friday, June 5, in the Pioneer Room, Memorial Union. For more information: Mike Telford, Development Office, 4-3303.

DEADLINES & REMINDERS

June 4-6: ISU Alumni Days.

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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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ON-LINE DICTIONARIES LINKED

Looking for the meaning of a word but left your dictionary out in the rain? Trying to figure out the meaning of a foreign word? The Web of On-line Dictionaries offers links to more than 500 dictionaries in 140 languages. There also are links to multilingual dictionaries, specialized English dictionaries, thesauri and other vocabulary aids, language identifiers, an index of dictionary indices, on-line grammar help and linguistic fun. The address is: http://www.bucknell.edu/~rbeard/diction.html

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I N F O G R A Z I N G

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UNDERGRAD TEACHING DECRIED AT RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES

A Carnegie Foundation report says research universities are shortchanging undergraduate education. "Universities consigned undergraduates to classes taught by graduate assistants and failed to provide students with a coherent body of knowledge by the time they graduated . . . Too often the curriculum is a bore and instruction inadequate . . . The students who need the very best teaching may actually receive the worst." Among other suggestions, the commission urges universities to create shared experiences for freshmen; make sure undergrads can write for a lay audience; create more "capstone" courses for seniors; provide better training for graduate students who teach undergrads; and reward excellent teaching. (New York Times, April 20, and Chronicle of Higher Education, April 24)

ISU FORESTRY CAPSTONE COURSE TESTS SENIORS

The Carnegie report (see item above) calls for more capstone courses for undergrads. For 22 years, ISU forestry seniors have put four years of knowledge to the test in Forestry 454, the major’s capstone course. This spring, 30 students in six teams developed solutions to practical problems posed by Iowa clients. The teams worked on management plans for projects at Camp Matigwa near Madrid, Volga River State Recreation Area near Fayette, Smith Wildlife Area near Algona, Mineral Crossing Farm near Monmouth, Three Mile Lake Area near Creston and the Pella Corporation. David Countryman teaches the course.

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

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PLANT CONSERVATION IN AMERICA

"I don't believe the U.S. is worse off than other countries. If anything, I think the U.S. has taken a more active interest in plant conservation." Bruce Stein of The Nature Conservancy, one of nine organizations that drew up a list of nearly 34,000 endangered plant species. One in eight species in the world and nearly one in three in the United States are considered endangered. (New York Times, April 9)

CHARISMATIC FAUNA OVERSHADOW TROUBLED FLORA

"The public unfortunately is not very familiar with the consequences of the loss of the genetic wealth of plants . . . With today's technology we have incredible possibilities to expand agricultural yields, and use plants for medicines . . . Plant diversity deserves the same recognition we grant to charismatic fauna; after all, no bamboo means no pandas." Brian Boom, vice president for botanical science, New York Botanical Garden. (Letter to the editor, New York Times, April 14)

SPECIES THRIVE ENOUGH TO LEAVE ENDANGERED LIST

More than two dozen creatures and plants no longer face extinction and will be removed from the Endangered Species List, according to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. The announcement represents the biggest recovery of species in the history of the 25-year-old Endangered Species Act. (Des Moines Register, May 6)

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M A R G I N A L I A

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PERSONALITY CRISIS? PASS THE PUFFS

Robert’s American Gourmet plans to market a new snack called Personality Puffs, which will include a blend of flowery herbs that "will improve one's personality," its creators say. The package also includes an 800 number you can call to reach a "personality person" to help you with your personality. The company is the maker of other snacks called Smart Puffs, Grateful Puffs and Power Puffs. Two other new products, Veggie Booty and Fruity Booty, are made from corn and rice, and contain concentrated spinach, kale, papaya and citrus fruits.

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