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In Action: Engagement, Discovery and Learning

This past spring, Extension personnel from throughout the state converged in Raleigh for festivities in celebration of Cooperative Extension’s centennial birthday. May 2014 marked 100 years since the signing of the Smith-Lever Act that created Extension programs nationwide. Among the kick-off activities were a celebratory dinner and a proclamation by Gov. Pat McCrory designating May 20 as Cooperative Extension Day in North Carolina. In this issue of Perspectives we report the events surrounding this important celebration, along with a look to the future and Extension’s plans for another century of success and service.

It’s been nearly two years since the College launched its own visioning process which resulted in its strategic plan for 2013-2020, Our Envisioned Future. That plan outlined CALS’ mission, its purpose and goals – essentially where the College aspires to be and how it will get there. In illustration of the College’s ongoing commitment to that mission, six of our newest William Neal Reynolds professors here tell us about their programs, each program’s value in both discovery and application, and the role of each in fulfilling the goals of the College.

Additionally, we introduce you to some intriguing teaching endeavors, including a transatlantic agricultural law class shared via video between a Croatian university and our Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Meanwhile, on the coast, in an outreach program at CALS’ Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, our faculty have taken hundreds of youths out on the water on the RV Humphries, the floating classroom where the students get hands-on aquatic ecology lessons. And here at our Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory, the Dairy Unit is a significant component of the College’s teaching program, where students have a priceless opportunity to train and learn in a working dairy.

Among our news from alumni is a very special interview: CALS graduate and former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt reminisces about his lifelong experiences with Cooperative Extension. He gives a uniquely personal assessment of the ongoing value of Extension to the state and its people.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is truly action-packed. We work hard to build our programs, our people and our partnerships every day. Join us for a look at points of pride and at goals that are already becoming accomplishments.