Volume 13, Number 1 Winter 1998

In this issue:

Excellence Found Throughout the College
of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Student learning comes first at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Making sure students have a good start at UVM is the focus of the College's first-year student seminar, "Beginnings." During their time at UVM, students also have many opportunities for quality, hands-on learning experiences such as the CREAM Program. And the College is especially proud of its faculty who are committed to excellence in teaching, research, advising and outreach. Professor Karen Plaut, this year's Carrigan award winner, is known for her enthusiasm and for encouraging her students to explore complex issues both within and outside of the class curriculum.

Off to a Good Start: The Beginnings Course

One of the things that makes the CALS undergraduate experience unique is the required course for first-year students called "Beginnings: First Year Seminar." This course, designed to help students make the transition from high school to college, is taught by Professor Tom Patterson from the department of Community Development and Applied Economics. Course topics include the university structure, the CALS mission, how to use the UVM library and computer system, how to start planning a career and how to get involved in university life and community service. Student course evaluations indicate that an overwhelming majority of students have felt they had a better understanding about UVM after taking the course.

A CALS first-year student said, "I liked the fact that the basis for this class is to help us fit into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences." Two others said, "I liked...that we had a lot of hands-on learning," and, "it exposed me to different facets of the university which I would never have observed had it not been for Beginnings."

Practical Hands-On Learning: The CREAM Program

Since its inception, the Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM) program has provided a successful model for providing hands-on learning and leadership training while teaching group and business management skills, communication skills, and decision-making practices. CREAM is run by 15 students who cooperatively own, manage and operate a dairy herd business of 30 registered Holsteins. The Brett Klein Memorial Barn, built in the fall of 1990 from memorial contributions and support from the Vermont Dairy Industry, serves as the CREAM barn.

CREAM students represent a wide range of interests. Agri-business students learn first-hand what it is like to work in the field, pre-vet students practice large animal care and gain an understanding of production agriculture, and dairy science majors learn to apply feeding, breeding, and health principles for solving real-world problems.

CREAM students receive guidance from an advisory board comprised of representatives from the dairy industry, including many College alumni. The faculty advisor is Associate Professor James Gilmore, better known as "Gilly" to students. He recently received the American Dairy Science Association National Teaching Award in dairy production.

In the past decade, more than 140 students have been involved with the CREAM program. These alumni and others are looking forward to an upcoming anniversary celebration, which in the true spirit of CREAM, is being organized by students. The CREAM program will celebrate its tenth anniversary with a reception at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington on the evening of April 25, 1998.

Top-Quality Teaching: The Joseph E. Carrigan Teaching Award

Professor Karen Plaut (second from left) works with students
The 1997 Joseph E. Carrigan Teaching Award was presented to Professor Karen Plaut, a faculty member in the department of animal sciences. "Every student that I have taught has potential. However that potential is not realized until the students become an active participant in the learning process. My objective is not just to teach my students a set of skills but to teach them a way of thinking and learning..." says Plaut.

Plaut earned a B.S. degree in animal science from UVM in 1981, a M.S. in animal nutrition in 1983 at Penn State and earned a Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University in 1989. She joined the UVM faculty in 1990.

Plaut conducts research on mammary tissue of dairy cows and goats. Potential outcomes of her research include gaining new understanding of how breast cancer develops, helping people affected by milk allergies, and decreasing the use of antibiotics in mastitis treatment of dairy cows. Plaut's ability to translate this scholarly work to her classroom is one of the reasons her colleagues recognized her with the Carrigan Teaching Award.

Distinguished Alumni Honored

Ted Castle, owner of Rhino Foods in Burlington, and Stephen P. Davis, director of the UVM Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge, were named the 1997 Outstanding Alumni by CALS. Paul Kindstedt, UVM professor of animal and food science, was presented the 1997 New Achiever Alumni Award.

Castle earned a bachelor's degree from UVM's Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics in 1975. In 1981, he started Rhino Foods which has grown into a nationally known specialty foods business. The business was awarded the Blue Chip Enterprise Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1994, and named "One of the Best Small Companies to Work For" by Inc. Magazine in 1992.

Davis graduated from UVM in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in animal science and began working at the UVM Morgan Horse Farm as a horse specialist focusing on training and showing UVM Morgans. In 1985, he was promoted to director. Davis' work has made the Morgan program a true extension arm of the university, and has made the farm, which is visited by 50,000 people a year, widely available to UVM students.

Award Winner Professor Paul Kindstedt with Dean Forcier
Kindstedt is an internationally known expert in cheesemaking and the chemistry of cheese. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from UVM in 1979 and 1981, and a doctorate in dairy sciences from Cornell University in 1986. Kindstedt's research focuses on the chemistry and properties of mozzarella cheese. He has lent his technical expertise to cheesemakers around the world and throughout Vermont, helping others develop and manufacture high-quality products. In 1993, Kindstedt received the Pfizer Award from the American Dairy Association, a national award for outstanding research on cheese and cultured dairy foods.

Student Profile:
Tiffany Dill Combines Scholarship And Service

Tiffany Dill returned to the classroom this fall to pursue another B.S. -- this time in Dietetics. Dill, from Keene, New Hampshire, came to UVM because of the strong biochemistry program and her motivation to help people. Dill graduated from UVM in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry.

Dill's decision to return to UVM for another year centered around her participation with Food Salvage, a Volunteers in Action program at UVM. Dill is serving as Director of this year's Food Salvage group. "Working with Food Salvage made me realize how much there is a need for nutrition education on a community level," said Dill.

Food Salvage volunteers rescue unserved food from local restaurants, combine it with food purchased at area grocery stores, and prepare and serve healthy meals to community members in need. "By working with businesses and relying on students and other community volunteers, we are engaging members of the community to help solve the problem of hunger," said Dill.

Dill is working with UVM Extension Associate Professor Sara Burczy in a Community Nutrition Practicum in Central Vermont. This has afforded Dill the opportunity to share nutrition information directly with low-income families in their own homes and to assist with community-based seminars for a variety of audiences. As part of her practicum she has co-taught a nutrition training session to childcare providers and a food safety workshop to volunteers who prepare and serve meals to the pubic.

"It's exciting to have Tiffany work with me. She has a wealth of knowledge to share and her commitment to helping people makes her a great fit with Extension," commented Burczy.

Dill is hopeful about the possibilities in community nutrition education and hopes that her continued contributions to the community make a difference in the lives of those whom she serves.

Alumni Profile:
Professor Catherine Donnelly Named First Bickford Scholar at UVM

Catherine Donnelly, UVM '78, professor of animal and food sciences at the University of Vermont and associate dean of CALS, was named the first Robert L. Bickford Scholar for outstanding research and teaching in nutrition and food sciences.

The scholarship was established by alumnus Robert L. Bickford, of Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. "It's important to recognize and reward excellence in the sciences associated with high-quality food production because that affects all of us," Bickford said.

Donnelly, a food microbiologist, conducts research on food-borne pathogens, particularly Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that causes listeriosis. She directed one of three national studies during the mid-1980s on whether l. monocytogenes could survive pasteurization. An improved method of testing for Listeria, developed by Donnelly and her laboratory, is now used nationwide by the U.S. Food Safety Inspection Service for meat testing. Donnelly also has done extensive international consulting on food safety. She earned a Ph.D. in food science at North Carolina State University.

Donnelly dedicated the Bickford Scholar Lecture to Dr. Henry Atherton, crediting hom for introducing her to the field of food microbiology when she was an undergraduate student in CALS.

Faculty Profile:
Dr. Susan Wallace Named University Scholar

Susan Wallace, professor and chair of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) Department, has been named a 1997-98 University Scholar. Each year, the University Scholars program recognizes four distinguished faculty members, two from the basic and applied sciences and two from the social sciences and humanities for sustained excellence in research and scholarship.

The goal of Wallace's research at UVM is to discover exactly how the DNA damage and repair process function. A leading expert in the area of ionizing radiation and oxidative damage to DNA, she has received two Merit Awards from the National Institute of Health. In addition, she has developed the department into one of the top 20 microbiology departments in extramural funding received nationally and the top UVM department in securing external support.

Upon receiving the award, Wallace said "It's always special to be recognized for one's accomplishments at home." Her University Scholar lecture is February 11, 1998. The lecture, "Oxidative DNA Damage: The Price We Pay For Breathing," will be from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the Memorial Lounge of Waterman Building on the UVM campus. As a preview to her February lecture, Wallace said "Human cells encounter between 10,000 to 20,000 damages per cell per day. Our cells are constantly being assaulted by a wide variety of toxic agents. When the enzymes involved in routine cell repair are not functioning correctly, this can lead to cell death, mutation or cancer."

According to Wallace, the progress in microbiology and molecular genetics is astonishing. A new gene is discovered every day and a new biotechnology company is starting up every week, she said.

Wallace earned a bachelor's degree from Marymount College, a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate from Cornell University. Wallace joined the UVM faculty in 1988.

Endowment Fund For Maple Research Announced at Proctor's 50th Anniversary

Proctor Maple Research Center's 50th anniversary celebration
Research at the UVM's Proctor Maple Research Center (PMRC) in Underhill Center will get major assistance from a new endowed fund, announced at the center's 50th anniversary celebration. Donations from sugarmakers and others in the industry have already launched the fund on its way to a $500,000 goal.

The fund will help pay for more research into the sugar maple and sugarmaking industry, which Proctor has been undertaking since 1947. It will also attract visiting scientists to work on short-term projects. The center is the oldest and largest maple research facility in the U.S.

Botanists Dr. James Marvin and Dr. Fred Taylor used money given to UVM by Governor Mortimer R. Proctor to buy the 200-acre Harvey Farm as a site for the center. The first laboratory at Proctor was built in 1947 and is being considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, PMRC has new facilities and a demonstration sugaring operation, with more than 2,000 taps, open to anyone interested in maple sugar production.

Research faculty and staff working at Proctor have provided many of the technical advances contributing to the success of the sugarmaking industry. This research also has helped make Vermont the top maple producing state in the country.

The center has been the site for studies on sap sweetness, effect of pollutants on sugar maples, management of sugarbushes, tree fertilization and tree physiology. Applied research included studies of sap tubing, alternate fuel sources, the efficiency of evaporators, rodent damage control, and better syrup production techniques. Current projectsinclude tree health, syrup containers, and fertilization.

If interested in donating to the research fund, please contact Howard Lincoln at 802-656-2509.

History of Land Grant Colleges Documented in Video

A documentary video, "Land for Learning: Justin Morrill and America's Land-Grant Colleges and Universities," will be released by Vermont Public Television on January 5, 1998 at 8:00 pm. The video tells the story of Vermont Senator Justin Morrill and his vision to create America's land grant college system "to place science and its technology applications in the hands of many rather than the privileged few." It also details the impact of the land grant system on higher education and advancements in agriculture, science and technology. The video can be purchased from Vermont Public Television after January 5 by calling 1-800-866-1666. The cost will be $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

College alumni Floyd Campbell '42 and Kay Campbell, UVM '44, along with the Strafford Historical Society, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the University of Vermont collaborated with Dan Harvey, UVM '84 and Vermont Public Television to produce the video. The video was produced and directed by Jill Halstead, and is one hour long. It is funded in part by USDA, members and friends of the Strafford Historical Society, UVM, and many other land grant institutions throughout the country.

Message from Dean Lawrence Forcier
CALS Contributes To UVM Vision

During her inaugural address, UVM President Judith Ramaley said, "What distinguishes us from other colleges in Vermont and from a majority of colleges and regional universities elsewhere is the comprehensiveness of our academic mission and the way we seek to integrate scholarship and service as elements of our curriculum, our research programs, and our partnerships. Our faculty are serious scholars and dedicated teachers. We are a national university with a strong sense of involvement in and responsibility for Vermont's future."

Although the President's remarks describe the University of Vermont as a whole, they are a very accurate summary of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. CALS is a dynamic academic unit whose excellent teaching and research, quality academic advising, and high student satisfaction with its programs is recognized by external groups. This excellence has also led to strong, steady growth in enrollment over the past several years. The College's undergraduate enrollment this fall is 879, compared to 724 five years ago.

College personnel recognize that a healthy Vermont agriculture is critical to Vermont's economic future. Agriculture will continue to be of increasing importance globally, and the College will continue to contribute skilled sensitive leaders and critical knowledge needed to help solve staggering problems related to hunger, rural poverty, a declining natural resources base, food safety, and air, soil, and water quality. Sustaining vital communities and Vermont's spectacular working landscape is at the very center of our activities in the College.

The examples of excellence described in this issue of Keeping In Touch are built upon a foundation of the land grant model of education. Our public service expectations result in faculty, staff and student truly engaged with community members in Vermont agriculture, agri-business, conservation, and other aspects of community development. Work such as Cathy Donnelly's close involvement with Vermont food producers provides superb learning opportunities for CALS students, staff, and faculty as well as for our industry and government partners. Active student learning through undergraduate and graduate research as well as in internships and field experiences enriches the student educational experience for Tiffany Dill and others. Experiential learning, such as in the CREAM program where students work closely with faculty, staff, and other professionals, is embraced by all of our academic programs.

This newsletter provides a number of examples of the very good work going on in this vital college. We are delighted to be contributing so directly and well to President Ramaley's vision of UVM's distinctive qualities. Please join me in applauding the efforts of all of the staff, faculty and students in CALS.

Nominations Sought For Alumni Awards

The College is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Alumni Award and the New Achiever Award. If you would like to nominate a CALS graduate for one of these awards, contact Kate Baldwin in the Dean's office by calling 802-656-2980; writing to 601 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05401-3439; or e-mailing khbaldwi@zoo.uvm.edu. Nomination forms are also available on the World Wide Web at http://ctr.uvm.edu/cals/nominate.htm. Nominations are due by April 1998.

Contact these individuals if you have questions or need information:

Dean: Lawrence Forcier (802-656-2980)
Associate Dean: Catherine Donnelly (802-656-2980)

Department Chairs:
Animal Sciences: John Bramley (802-656-2070)
Botany and Agricultural Biochemistry: David Barrington (802-656-2930)
Community Development and Applied Economics: Catherine Halbrendt (802-656-2001)
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics: Susan Wallace (802-656-2164)
Nutrition and Food Sciences: Robert Tyzbir (802-656-3374)
Plant and Soil Science: Lorraine Berkett (802-656-2630)

Program Heads:
Biological Sciences Program: Donald Foss* (802-656-2981)
Family and Consumer Sciences Education: Valerie Chamberlain 802-656-0035)
Environmental Sciences: Alan McIntosh (802-656-4057)
Environmental Studies Program: Ian Worley, Interim (802-656-4055)

Writers: Katie Antos, Kate Baldwin, Susan Harlow
Photo Credits: UVM Photography, Brian Stowe

*Also Associate Dean

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. Lawrence K. Forcier, Director, University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status.

This page is hosted by Communication and Technology Resources, University of Vermont, and maintained by Kim Parker, (Kim.Parker@uvm.edu); April 1, 2002. Return to:

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