February 2017

Facebook Twitter More...

From the Dean

Jay AkridgeWith the fund raising in full swing for a new Agricultural and Biological Engineering facility, I thought it would be useful this month talk a bit about our College’s development activities. As you likely know, the University is 4½ years into a $2.019 billion development campaign, Ever True. Our College's goal is to raise $220 million of that $2.019 billion. Yes, that’s a lot of money and it means generating $86,106 for the College every day for the seven years of the campaign! Fortunately, we have a very strong and experienced development team in Eric Putman, Tammy Kettler, Kyle Bymaster, Joel Hartman, Kelly Delp, Paige Ebner, and Debbie Dunham. Shelly Bingle leads the development activities for the Indiana 4-H Foundation. They do an exceptional job for us in building relationships and raising funds for the College.

Our team reports through the University Development Office, which is very important – many of our donors are engaged outside our College as well, and we benefit greatly from this coordinated, University-wide approach. As you would guess, I invest a lot my time in fund raising activities, as do our department heads and associate/assistant deans. To date, we have raised $187,832,416 (85%) of our goal – great progress but a lot of work yet to do! (Of course, that total includes the $65 million deferred gift the College received in 2013 – the largest private gift in Purdue history.)

What do we raise money for? Our four big areas of focus are scholarships/fellowships, facilities, named professorships, and programmatic support for faculty, staff, and students. Donors to our College invest heavily and scholarships for undergraduate students, and now we annually award more than two million dollars in scholarships. We have also been able to establish some important endowments that support our graduate students over the past few years.

Our critical facility needs make that area a major target. We have had some good success stories: Creighton Hall of Animal Sciences, Land O’Lakes Experiential Learning Center, Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center, Beck’s Floor for Agricultural Economics, Skidmore Product Development Lab, among others. Very large projects require many, many donors--not just the donor whose name goes on the building. While in most cases we need State, University and College funds to complete these projects, they just don’t happen without donor funds.

A donor has recently put $10 million on the table for a matching program for new endowed faculty chairs and we want to secure the 10 new named chairs the match would make possible. Some donors want to invest in programmatic support: for example, we have new endowments supporting College of Agriculture Transformational Experience (CATE) activities through the Office of Academic Programs.

How do we decide what to raise money for? We try to be as strategic as possible. Facility targets come from our College's master facilities plan, and we recently completed a needs assessment for the Purdue Agriculture Centers (PACs). We annually ask our department heads for their critical needs across all four target areas. Obviously, we do not have the capacity to pursue every project that every head/department/individual would like us to pursue. So, prioritization, while frustrating to some, is essential. Of course, donor interest and passion ultimately determine where they choose to invest - as much planning as we do, we must be very opportunistic in raising funds.

I am particularly grateful for each one of our current and retired faculty and staff members who have chosen to invest in the College during the Ever True campaign. Many of you make annual gifts or have deferred gifts; please know these investments are especially meaningful.

Right now, we are working to raise $11 million for support of the new Agricultural and Biological Engineering facility. This project is the University’s number one capital project and is now in front of our state legislature for funding. Putting the top program in the US in contemporary space; co-locating ABE faculty in the new space and freeing up vacated space in 11 different buildings across campus; a rapidly growing undergraduate and graduate program – we believe we have a very compelling case and we hope our donors will as well!

Ultimately, our donors are investing in you and your good work: the students we graduate, the research we conduct, the Extension programming we deliver – these are the things that fire a donor’s passion. Building bridges between your good work and aspirations and donor interests is what our development strategy is all about. I say this regularly: with the money the public provides the College through tuition and state and federal funding, we can be very good at what we do. But, to be the truly extraordinary College we want to be, we need the financial support of alumni, friends, and stakeholders.

All the best,



Purdue Agriculture People


Profiles in Teaching: Abigail Engelberth

engleberthProfiles in Teaching focuses each month on an individual whose work reflects our commitment to learning at Purdue. This month’s spotlight is on Abigail Engelberth, Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

Full Story






Graduate Research Spotlight:Gabriela Nuñez-Mir

gabrielaThe Graduate Research Spotlight highlights graduate students and their work. This month's spotlight is on Gabriela Nuñez-Mir, Forestry and Natural Resources.

Full story






Purdue mourns loss of legendary ag leader Williamson

mauriMauri Williamson, BS ’50, passed away on January 30 at the age of 91. Mauri served for 37 years as Executive Secretary of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association, he founded the Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair to preserve and display the history of Indiana agriculture, and he was an Indiana agriculture legend. Read more about Mauri Williamson here.

Full Story





Chaubey named Associate Dean for International Programs in Agriculture


Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey, currently head of the Purdue Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, will become the next Associate Dean and Director of International Programs in Agriculture. He will assume the position on a half-time basis on May 15 and will transition to full time on January 1, 2018. Dr. Chaubey was a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering before taking the department head position in the College of Science. He brings a long track record of international activity and an outstanding scholarly record to this role. “Dr. Chaubey is a proven leader and collaborator, has established his ability to build and lead strong and productive teams, and has a true passion to help us take our international programs to even higher levels of excellence,” said Dean Jay Akridge. “I am very excited about the future of IPIA and our College’s international activities under his leadership. My special thanks to Dr. Ragu Raghothama for all he has done (and will do) to lead IPIA through this transition period.” 



College Welcomes Brianna Gaskill

Brianna Gaskill, Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences. Brianna received her bachelor's degree from Kansas State University and Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her original appointment was in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and she transitioned to the Department of Animal Sciences in January. Brianna’s research program is aimed at identifying species-specific welfare challenges in the laboratory as well as designing and implementing practical solutions to alleviate those challenges. Purdue University's Center for Animal Welfare Science facilitates the well-being of all captive animals, including farm, companion, and laboratory animals. She is a member of the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science.


Finalists set for Agronomy Department Head

Four candidates have been invited to interview for the Agronomy Department Head position. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the seminar presentations and to engage in the interview process for this important position. The seminars will be streamed and archived on the department head search link on the bottom of the department home page. Candidate information, including credentials and feedback forms/feedback survey links, will be added to the site soon.

Dr. Robert Rhykerd, Illinois State University
Interview:  Monday and Tuesday, February 20 & 21
Seminar: Monday, February 20 at 10:00 a.m. in the Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. John Grove, University of Kentucky
Interview:  Wednesday and Thursday, March 1 & 2
Seminar: Wednesday, March 1 at 10:00 a.m. in the Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. Ronald Turco, Purdue University
Interview:  Thursday and Friday, March 9 & 10
Seminar: Thursday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m. in the Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall

Dr. Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Interview:  Thursday and Friday, March 23 & 24
Seminar: Thursday, March 23 at 10:00 a.m. in the Deans Auditorium, Pfendler Hall


Call for Nominations for Graduate Student Pathmaker Award

The College of Agriculture Graduate Student Pathmaker Award was developed by graduate student leaders in the College to recognize the contributions of students who have made a real difference in the lives of others as effective mentors and peer coaches. Please consider nominating a deserving graduate student; nominations can come from anyone in the College. Nominations are due by 5 pm, Mar 1, 2017.  Send nominations to Julie Richards at  richa190@purdue.edu   Please contact Dr. Shawn Donkin with any questions. Information and nomination form here.


College participates in Bravo Awards Program

Bravo AwardPurdue Agriculture will participate in the Bravo Award program again this year. The Bravo Award is intended to highlight the excellence found across all areas and job functions at Purdue by recognizing and rewarding extraordinary achievements on every scale. The Bravo Award is a one-time cash award to employees at all levels in recognition of substantial accomplishments that extend well beyond regular work responsibilities. Acknowledging employee accomplishments that help Purdue make a difference with our students and in our state and help us move the world forward is vital to the University's mission and the morale of our faculty and staff. Click here for more information and FAQs about the Bravo Award. You can find the Bravo Award nomination form here. Please use this form—not any older versions. If you have questions, please contact your business manager.


A reminder about tracking civil rights and diversity training

Civil Rights logoThe College of Agriculture is committed to making ongoing improvements to policies and practices to assure that race, ethnicity and gender are not barriers to success. During our USDA Federal Civil Rights Compliance Audit in 2012, it was brought to our attention that we did not have a formal tracking system in place to verify that all faculty, staff and graduate students received appropriate training. In order to comply with this, individuals are required to receive training in civil rights (the regulations), diversity awareness or sexual harassment each year. Therefore, we created a system utilizing the Qualtrics survey tool to have individuals self-report completion of their training. Rather than mandate a specific training, we are asking you to comply by recording training you have been to already or attend any training that fits your needs and interests and enhances your knowledge/understanding of diversity, civil rights or sexual harassment. 

Report training at:  https://ag.purdue.edu/civil_rights/Pages/report.aspx


Training modules available for faculty and staff

Risk Management, in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, announces the availability of the Risk Management Employment Claims Initiative education program. The program helps employees and supervisors understand employment-related issues such as discrimination, harassment, disability awareness and accommodations, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), overtime rates, and other university leave policies. Participants will complete four training modules and corresponding certification quizzes: 1) Equal Opportunity; 2) Americans with Disabilities Act; 3) Wage and Hour Issues for Employees and Supervisors; and 4) Family and Medical Leave Act and University Leave Policies.

The training modules and instructions for accessing the certification quizzes are located on the Purdue Employee Portal. Each training module is approximately 20 to 25 minutes long. Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Opportunity will also fulfill College of Agriculture requirements for civil rights training as required by the USDA. All faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to complete these training modules. Faculty and staff participation in these training modules impacts the College's share of insurance costs.

Awards and Recognitions

buckmasterDennis Buckmaster and Amy Jones, Office of Academic Programs, Learning Community Instructors for the Agriculture Technology and Innovation LC, have received the 2016-17 Learning Community Student Impact Award. The Student Impact Award is given to Learning Community Instructors who have demonstrated exceptional success in connecting students to peers, faculty and professional staff, campus resources, and the community at large.




mashtareMichael Mashtare, Agronomy, Learning Community Instructor for the Environmental Sciences LC, has received the 2016-17 Learning Community Exceptional Event Planner Award. The Exceptional Event Planner Award is given to Learning Community Instructors who plan events that are engaging, exciting, and integral to student learning and development during their first semester at Purdue.






FNRForestry and Natural Resources faculty and staff members Jeff Dukes, Reuben Goforth, Julie Pluimer, Linda Prokopy, and Robert Swihart, Learning Community Instructors for the The Nature of Wild Things LC, have received the 2016-17 Learning Community Academic Connection Award. The Academic Connection Award is given to Learning Community Instructors who plan events and activities that directly connect classroom learning with hands-on experiences.




Nine Purdue Agriculture faculty members were recognized by the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization for having inventions patented in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. They are: Klein Ileleji, ABE; Monika Ivantysynova, ABE; Michael Ladisch, ABE; John Lumkes, ABE; Rick Meilan, FNR; Nate Mosier, ABE; Victor Rodwell, BCHM; Andy Tao, BCHM; and Bernard Tao, ABE. PRF officials reported a record-breaking 376 invention and copyright disclosures, 236 licensing deals, 151 U.S. and global patents issued, 521 global patent applications and $5.45 million in royalty income. They also reported a record 27 startups based on Purdue intellectual property launched in the fiscal year.


brown and keatingAgriculture staff members Skye Brown, Youth Development and Agricultural Education; Patricia Keating, Purdue Extension, and Greg Lindberg, Purdue Extension, were awarded professional development grants from the Administrative and Professional Staff Advisory Committee (APSAC) for Fall 2016. APSAC grants fund such activities as professional education or certification; attendance at lectures, conferences and seminars; or tuition assistance for academic classes.  




byersdotenElizabeth Byers-Doten, Youth Development and Agricultural Education was named the Outstanding New Professional, by the Purdue Academic Advising Association (PACADA). Elizabeth has served as a Student Services Specialist in the department since June 2015. Elizabeth brings her M.S. in Student Affairs Administration and her experiences in student career advising with her to make a profound difference in the lives of undergraduate students in Agricultural Communications.  





tacieTracie Egger, Assistant Director of Academic Programs, received the 2017 Butler Center Leadership in Action Award in the staff category. The Leadership in Action Award recognizes Purdue faculty, staff, and students who have shown exemplary leadership within their respective areas of expertise. Whether it is through excellence in a particular field and/or demonstrable commitment to the success and development of other leaders, this award acknowledges the honorees’ accomplishments and professional contributions. Tracie will be honored along with other recipients at a reception on February 17. 



Purdue Agriculture in the News

Tumor suppressor key in maintaining stem cell status in muscle

kuangA gene known to suppress tumor formation in a broad range of tissues plays a key role in keeping stem cells in muscles dormant until needed, a finding that may have implications for both human health and animal production, according to a study by Shihuan Kuang and Feng Yue, Animal Sciences, The results of their study suggest modifying expression of the PTEN gene could one day play a role in increasing muscle mass in agricultural animals and improve therapies for muscle injuries in humans.

Full Story


Purdue, ASTA partner to offer 30th management academy

CABPurdue’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business will again partner with the American Seed Trade Association to offer the ASTA Management Academy, March 6-10 in West Lafayette. The academy focuses on the practical application of general management concepts that are critical to the long-term success of seed companies. Purdue faculty and seed-industry experts will lead sessions on topics including marketing management, organizational leadership, financial management and strategic management.

Full Story


Botanical Society, HUBzero partner on PlantingScience.org online community for high school student researchers

hubzeroAn online mentoring community that connects plant scientists with secondary school students to work on student-designed research projects found the tools it needed to expand in HUBzero, Purdue’s open-source platform for scientific collaboration. PlantingScience.org was founded in 2005 by The Botanical Society of America, in partnership with 18 other scientific societies, as a way of helping teachers overcome “plant blindness,” namely a focus on animal biology at the exclusion of plant science. The program has served more than 22,000 students and partnered with more than 1,000 scientists since its inception.

Full Story


Purdue Extension sets Horticultural Business and Marketing Symposium

hortEstablished agribusiness owners and entrepreneurs can learn how to expand their markets at Purdue Extension’s Horticultural Business and Marketing Symposium. The event offers marketing training with a competitive edge for businesses ranging from nursery, land and turf operations to fruit and vegetable growers who sell directly to customers, including individuals, farmers markets and restaurants. The event will be held Feb. 23, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis.

Full Story


Study: Cities in India need to consider extreme rainfall when planning new infrastructure

nResearchers from Purdue University and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay have determined that rapidly urbanizing areas on the Indian subcontinent are more likely than established cities to experience extreme rainfall events during the summer monsoon season, a finding that is important for shaping storm water system design, water resource policy and urban flood management in the region. Study co-author Dev Niyogi, professor of agronomy and Indiana state climatologist, said results of past studies of rainfall patterns might no longer be sufficient to predict future precipitation events.

Full Story



USDA reports sizzling numbers for 2016 Indiana popcorn crop

popcornThe Indiana popcorn harvest exploded in 2016, with yields up by nearly 30 percent compared with 2015. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that total production was up 45 percent from 2015 to a record 4.46 million hundredweight of popcorn, or nearly 500 million pounds. The total crop value was $71.4 million, compared to $50.7 million in 2015.

Full Story




Indiana Small Farm Conference opens with daylong workshops, urban ag tour

small farm confThe 2017 Indiana Small Farm Conference and trade show, March 2-4 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex, will include educational sessions on topics ranging from vegetable and livestock production to farm management and marketing. James Wolff, Purdue Extension-Allen County educator and one of the conference organizers, calls it the most ambitious agenda so far. Participants will learn about everything from new food safety regulations to farm financial management.

Full Story



Ag barometer: Producer sentiment skyrockets again

Agricultural producer sentiment hit a record high for the second consecutive month, according to the January Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The January reading of 153 marked a substantial increase over December’s record-breaking 132. The 21-point jump also represents the largest month-over-month sentiment change. Jim Mintert, director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture, says the biggest contributor to the large uptick in optimism since October has been producers’ increasingly favorable expectations about the future. 

Full Story







Cynthia Hartman, Purdue Extension, retired January 31
Michael Hornbach, Purdue Extension, retired January 31
Philip Sutton, Purdue Extension, retired January 31
Hugh Tonagel, Purdue Extension, retired January 31


Dates and Deadlines

March 3: Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Recognition

March 29: Dean's Advisory Council Spring Meeting

March 30: Production Ag Roundtable

April 3-7: Ag Week

April 8-9: Spring Fest

April 11: Undergraduate Research and Poster Symposium

April 18: Learning from Leaders with Mark Poeschl, CEO, National FFA Organization

April 26: College of Agriculture Annual Spring Awards Banquet


For more dates and deadlines, check the Purdue Agriculture calendar.


University News

Purdue President Mitch Daniels issues statement on executive order on immigration

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels on Sunday (Jan. 29) issued the following statement regarding the Executive Order issued Friday (Jan. 27) by President Donald Trump: “The President's order related to immigration is a bad idea, poorly implemented, and I hope that he will promptly revoke and rethink it. If the idea is to strengthen the protection of Americans against terrorism, there are many far better ways to achieve it.”

Full Story


Purdue community: Adverse winter weather procedures

If adverse weather conditions necessitate that a wind chill, snow or ice emergency be declared for the West Lafayette campus, special procedures pertaining to classes, operations, parking, pay and/or attendance will become effective. Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety, describes procedures for adverse winter weather in this memo


New Halstead research supercomputing cluster ready for use by Purdue faculty

ITaP is building Purdue’s ninth research supercomputing system in as many years through the Community Cluster program, which gives Purdue researchers the best collection of high-performance computing resources for use on a single campus in the country. The new supercomputer, named Halstead, will have the same processors as the Rice supercomputing cluster built in 2015, but will be better on all other specifications, including memory per node, network bandwidth and cost to researchers, says Preston Smith, ITaP’s director of research services and support. Like Rice, Halstead will work well for most kinds of science and engineering research. Its scratch storage space is better optimized for smaller files, so users should find going back and forth between numerous small files more efficient. The new cluster features two 10-core Intel Xeon CPUs per node, 128 GB of RAM and Mellanox EDR 100 Gb/s Infiniband interconnects. Halstead is expected to be ready for use in December. Purdue researchers can already buy capacity in it through ITaP Research Computing’s cluster orders website.

Full Story


Digital Education expands awards program, seeks 2017 nominations

Purdue Digital Education and the Office of the Provost have significantly expanded the University’s award program for digital education and are now accepting nominations for the 2017 awards. The new program includes five awards:

Excellence in Distance Learning: Course Design and Teaching (Credit).
Excellence in Distance Learning: Course Design and Technology (Noncredit).
Innovation in Course Design and Use of Technology.
Digital Education Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award.
MVP: Instructional Design and Support Award.

The awards are available to courses and individuals at all of Purdue’s campuses. Each recognized course or person will receive $2,500. Awardees will be recognized at the provost’s annual awards convocation in April.


Convocations Assembling Collegiate Advisory Board 

Convocations wants to hear from you! Do you have artists, musicians, speakers, or other performance ideas you would like to see Convocations bring to campus? Consider joining the Convocations Collegiate Advisory Board. Ideally, there will be at least one representative from each college on campus. Meetings will occur quarterly and refreshments will be served. If you would have an interest in helping shape the future of Convocations, please contact Dr. Amanda Mayes, Manager of Education, at asmayes@purdue.edu.


Nominations sought for Engagement awards

The Office of Engagement is seeking nominations for the Faculty Engagement Scholar Award, Corps of Engagement Award, Faculty Engagement Fellow Award, Staff Engagement Award, Service Learning Award and the Christian J. Foster Award. Nominations are due by Feb. 24. Details about the awards, including purpose, criteria and the general guidelines, are available here


Report Hate and Bias

report hatePurdue University is a community where diversity is valued and incidents of hate and bias are not tolerated. Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors who feel that they have been the victim of a bias related incident (or who have witnessed a bias related incident) are encouraged to report it online at www.purdue.edu/report-hate or to contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 765-494-1250. Your report can remain anonymous if you wish. Remember, if it is an emergency situation that requires immediate medical or emergency services attention, please call the Purdue University Police Department at 911 or 765-494-8221.