University of Vermont

The Honors College

Honors College Faculty Seminar 2012

TO: All UVM Faculty Members

FROM: S. Abu Turab Rizvi, Dean of the Honors College

SUBJECT: Faculty Seminar, 2012

DATE: March 30, 2012

It is with great pleasure that I announce the ninth Honors College Faculty Seminar, this year titled The Legacy and Future of Morrill’s Land Grant Mission, to be held August 13-15, 2012. The three days of the seminar will conclude with a dinner hosted by new UVM President Thomas Sullivan with Leslie Black Sullivan, and Provost Jane Knodell. The seminar's coordinators are Tom Vogelmann, Professor of Plant Biology and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Cheryl Morse, Assistant Professor of Geography and Director of the Center for Research on Vermont. Participants will receive a grant of $300 to be used for broad professional purposes to enhance teaching, scholarship, or service.

The Land Grant Act was proposed by Vermont Representative Justin Smith Morrill and signed into law in 1862 by President Lincoln. The Act gave states federal land for the purpose of establishing colleges that would "teach agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life" (37th Congress of the United States, Sess. 2, Ch. 130). Decades later additional legislation brought the cooperative extension services and agricultural experiment stations into being. These programs were intended to transfer knowledge between the land grant universities and citizens. For many, the land grant mission has come to mean the extension of educational opportunity along multiple dimensions and to include the teaching and application of practical subjects beyond the agricultural and mechanical, though, as the legislation had it, "without excluding other scientific and classical studies." Thus the meaning of the land grant mission has been interpreted as reaching beyond the strict reading of the law that was passed. This year marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Act. In honor of 150 years of liberal and practical education, we hold this seminar to consider the past and future of the land grant mission in Vermont, the United States, and around the globe.

Vermont has a rich history associated not only with the passage of the Act that spurred the creation of colleges and universities across the United States, but also with the implementation of the Act within our own state. Participants in this seminar will delve into this history by reading and discussing the decision to name the University of Vermont as the state's land grant college, and the evolution of the land grant mission over time. Participants will also step outside of the seminar room to consider original and archived documents in Special Collections and conduct a short field study.

On the first of the seminar's three days, faculty will debate questions such as "How did global, national, and local circumstances influence the production and passage of the Morrill Act?" and, "What have been the successes and limitations of this grand Land Grant experiment?"

On the second day participants will consider how today's land grant colleges and universities, including UVM, fulfill their mission to provide education and service within their home states and elsewhere. They will learn from the experiences of UVM faculty and extension agents as well as from leaders in the field working from other institutions about how knowledge is most effectively transferred from the university to the public. They will reflect upon UVM’s unique position within the state and the challenges that lie ahead in meeting institutional goals of education, research and outreach.

How might the land grant mission evolve in the next 150 years? What does our society expect and need from land grant institutions? How does the land grant mission fit with the objectives of a university? Should the land grant philosophy and ethic be interpreted globally? Or is this concept obsolete? On the final day of the seminar, faculty members will be challenged by such forward-thinking questions. They will also have the opportunity to discuss new initiatives for their own teaching, research and/or service commitments against a backdrop of national and international opportunities and challenges.

I hope this interdisciplinary seminar will attract participants from a diversity of backgrounds. Faculty members interested in participating in the seminar should submit a letter of interest and a short C.V. (no more than four pages) addressed to Abu Rizvi, Dean of the Honors College, 50 University Heights, by April 16, 2012. Please indicate any experience, special concerns or expertise you would bring to this seminar. The application materials should be sent via email attachment to . Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by April 27, 2012. Please feel free to contact me at 6-9102 or if you have any questions.

Last modified April 02 2012 10:55 AM