This past year – my first full year as Dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources – has been characterized by change and challenges. Between the constant change and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the obstacles of a remarkably dry growing season throughout much of the Prairies, we have been forced to adapt, and then adapt again.
Interestingly, the theme of the college’s strategic plan which outlines our goals to 2025 is “Adapting to Change”. Written pre-COVID, it was conceived out of a recognition that we are increasingly called to adapt to changing economics (both locally and globally), to changing climates, to changing technologies and to changing student needs. As we look back on the past year and look forward to this year, we can reflect on just how apropos that theme was.
Last year, our research and teaching activities adapted to continue to thrive while keeping our faculty, staff and students safe and healthy. We found new ways to stay connected to the stakeholders and communities we serve. This year, we are adapting to a new approach yet again, as we strive to provide a working and learning environment that is both safe and supportive.
We are excited to be growing our future, by implementing new ideas such as a new lecturer who will help us adapt the core curriculum of our BSA program to better serve the needs of our students and their future employers. Later in this issue of Agknowledge, you’ll read about the search for a new research chair, which is supported by a truly innovative partnership among the university, industry and government.
At the same time, though, our adaptation comes from the strength that we have built over more than a century, a century full of ample challenges. Our college and the community it serves are rooted in tradition, and we are proud to be building upon the success of our roots as we grow our future. In 2021, we are celebrating 100 years of horticulture science at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and 50 years of the USask Crop Development Centre.
Now more than ever, we look forward to continuing to adapt and grow the College of Agriculture and Bioresources in new ways: to be the college the world needs.