The trajectory of the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources is on the rise, according to new IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm.
“It’s a special place filled with momentum, innovation and collaboration,” Boehm told faculty and staff at the IANR All Hands Meeting on Jan. 18. “You should take the credit because you are what’s driving this.”
Boehm delivered updates on IANR’s efforts to deliver on teaching, research and outreach. He also provided a glimpse into his leadership philosophy as he navigates a new position, which he officially started Jan. 1.
“I’m coming into this working for you,” he said. “The leadership team exists to facilitate the forward progress of our faculty, staff and students.
Highlights of IANR’s momentum were prominent throughout the meeting. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is experiencing its 12th consecutive year of enrollment growth. This is a significant accomplishment and a bright spot for the university, according to Boehm. He said he is also interested in what happens to those students once they are enrolled, saying that retention efforts need to be just as enthusiastic as recruitment efforts, given how important people are to the vitality of IANR’s mission.
In 2044, it is estimated that half of American citizens will be people of color. Preparing for the next generation of students, farmers, ranchers and innovators will be critical for IANR. The commitment University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds and Chancellor Ronnie Green have made to bringing the conversation about diversity and inclusion mainstream is appealing to IANR’s new leader.
“It’s about bringing the difference together, animating that difference such that we can move smartly and positively engage the people we’re helping succeed,” Boehm said.
Much of IANR’s momentum can be attributed to its innovative pursuits. Faculty in the Agricultural Research Division continue to see success in a competitive external environment. Expenditures for externally sponsored research increased for a fourth consecutive year.
A portion of those research expenditures is dedicated to phenomics, the science of measuring a set of observable characteristics of an organism or crop as influenced by their environment over time. This groundbreaking research is occurring every day at the Beadle Center, Greenhouse Innovation Center and the Agricultural Research and Development Center. A plant scientist by training, Boehm mentioned the impressive phenomics research happening across several sectors of IANR.
“There is a neat, unique and distinctive constellation of efforts that when bundled together are second to none in the world that feeds Nebraska being the driver of center pivot technology and water management,” he said.
IANR also recently participated in the groundbreaking of the Nebraska Agricultural Sci-Tech Park in Yangling, China. The project is a collaboration between Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, numerous private partners and the Yangling Agriculture Hi-tech Demonstration Zone. Field corn, popcorn, wheat and soybeans will be the primary crops grown in the demonstration farm.
“The ag demonstration zone in China takes the best of what Nebraska has to offer in this space and showcases it in a growing economy,” Boehm said.
He closed with a focus on the future.
“If we focus on the success of our people, by being accessible, equitable, diverse and inclusive, by being an engaged university, through authentic partnerships, we will make a difference in the world,” he said.
IANR faculty and staff across Nebraska were able to watch the meeting live online. To view a full recording, click here.