May 24, 2021
Dear CAHNR Alumni and Friends,
Much has changed since my last message. While the COVID-19 pandemic still has an impact on our society, we have made great progress towards normalcy and togetherness. Thanks to scientific innovation in the form of vaccines and steady distribution across the country, soon we will all have the option to engage in activities that have been unavailable for the last year.
As we take this big step towards normality, I’m reminded of all of the ways the University of Connecticut and the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) responded to the challenge with creativity, compassion, and flexibility. While our approaches were necessarily altered, we never stopped working for the communities we serve. Transformational education, impactful research, and extension outreach – all of these core elements of our mission were maintained and, in many cases, strengthened during this crisis. Below are a few highlights of CAHNR’s achievements during this unprecedented time:
- We expanded academic programs, such as a new four-year baccalaureate program in Allied Health Sciences at the UConn-Waterbury campus, and an online Master’s degree in personalized nutrition. We also worked hard to keep CAHNR accessible and affordable for our students with scholarships totaling more than $690,000 for 330 students.
- Our faculty have continued to excel in research productivity. CAHNR labs opened with the state- and UConn-mandated safety protocols in place, and our researchers received $34.8 million in extramural grant funding in FY20. This represents an increase of more than 65% compared to FY19.
- In response to the pandemic, UConn Extension programming moved to virtual environments, and our educators continued to create materials that helped citizens in every town and city in the state. UConn Extension programs also addressed the food insecurity challenges caused by the pandemic by coordinating the donation of over 160,000 pounds of dairy products statewide.
- We have successfully completed a challenging academic year, which culminated with an in-person, socially distanced Commencement ceremony for recent undergraduate and graduate students. This welcome return of one of our most treasured academic traditions gave us the opportunity to personally celebrate the achievements of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture’s amazing graduates.
I am so proud of all that our faculty, students, and staff have accomplished during these remarkably challenging times, and I am optimistic that the fall semester will usher in an even greater return to regularity and connection.
As many of you have heard, there will be other transitions in the University’s future with President Katsouleas’ decision to return to the faculty this summer. During the transition, CAHNR will continue to work with the Office of the Provost and the Interim President Dr. Agwunobi to advance our goals of providing life transformation education to all CAHNR students, increasing research and innovation, and supporting local communities through extension outreach.
Thank you all for your continued support of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. I wish you a safe and healthy summer.
Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director