A Message from the Dean

Dear CAHNR Alumni and Friends,

The fall season has brought much beauty to all of UConn’s campuses. As the autumn leaves continue to turn and the end of a busy semester approaches, we are reminded of all the achievements that our students, faculty, staff, and the University as a whole have experienced.

Despite all the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, our community continues to thrive in the three mission areas that make UConn a top public university: research, education, and extension outreach.

Remarkably, for the first time in UConn’s history, our researchers won over $300 million in external funding for research, service, and other sponsored program awards. Faculty from the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources contributed significantly to this total, winning $31.4 million in external funding last year. To continue to add to this growth, the College is also conducting many faculty searches across departments this year, with an impressive total of 20 new hires. Every department will have open positions to fill, and we are confident that we will attract phenomenal candidates who support our mission and our strategic focus areas.

UConn Extension and their programs in all 169 Connecticut towns continue to be the gold standard for connecting communities in our state with resources and research that improve quality of life. In 2020, UConn Extension reached over 100,000 people, including over 15,000 youth participants through programs like UConn 4-H and UConn’s Natural Resources Conservation Academy.

The return to primarily in-person classes this semester has allowed our students and faculty to come together and learn from one another again. Thanks to high rates of vaccination among students and faculty/staff, combined with a commitment to the UConn Promise, the fall semester was as close to normal as we could have hoped for. This is a testament to the UConn community’s collective ability to work together, practice patience and compassion, and focus on the common good above all.

These successes fill me with a great sense of appreciation and gratitude. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to our dedicated community of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends who make our College the special place that it is.

On behalf of all of us at CAHNR and the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, we wish you health, happiness, and togetherness this Thanksgiving season.

Go Huskies.

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director

Passing of Emeritus Professor Dr. Michael Darre

Michael Darre

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I reach out to inform you of the passing of Emeritus Professor Dr. Michael Darre.

Mike served the College and the Department of Animal Science for 37 years, teaching popular courses, overseeing the Little International Livestock Show, and working on collaborative research projects related to poultry production. In addition, he was heavily involved in 4-H programs in the state and provided invaluable information to local poultry farmers and enthusiasts across New England for many years.

Mike received numerous awards for his teaching and public service and was deeply committed to the student experience. He devoted many weekends and evenings to facilitating co-curricular activities. Mike also represented our College in many university-wide committees and was active in the University Senate, particularly with issues related to curriculum and General Education. For many years, he served as University Marshal for Commencement and was instrumental in this important celebration’s transformation to its current form.

You could always count on Mike for a well-timed joke, dedication to his students and colleagues, and commitment to CAHNR. He will be missed by the Department of Animal Science, the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, and many within the University of Connecticut.

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director

A Message from the Dean

Dear CAHNR Alumni and Friends,

It’s here again. The beginning of a new semester and all the promise it holds. This fall may look different for Husky Nation, but we will tackle it together with the enthusiastic and collaborative spirit that makes UConn such a special place.

Since my last message at the end of the spring semester, faculty and staff have continued to make extraordinary strides in their research, teaching, and extension efforts. They helped prepare US Olympic athletes to beat the heat at the Tokyo games, launched new trademarks for native plant cultivars, and worked to develop better feeding practices for crossbred calves. I encourage you to learn about the countless faculty accomplishments by subscribing to UConn Today for weekly updates.

Many of our students also had transformational summers working with the community or conducting innovative research in CAHNR labs. I am so proud of our College for providing students with experiential opportunities to grow, learn, and find their paths. Please visit the My CAHNR Summer website if you would like to learn more about the internships and research projects some of our students worked on this summer.

While our gaze is firmly on the horizon and what the new academic year holds, it’s also important to take a moment to recognize several noteworthy accomplishments from the last fiscal year. I’m so pleased to share that, with your help, the College enjoyed its most successful fundraising year in history. As you know, private support from alumni and friends like you makes it possible for the College to ensure that our programs, students, and researchers have the resources necessary to fulfill our mission. Thank you to the CAHNR community for your incredible generosity, especially during a time with so many physical, emotional, and financial challenges. We could not do it without you.

Despite unprecedented challenges in the last year, the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources has also moved forward in each of our mission areas in discovery, learning, and extension outreach, and has made substantial contributions to UConn’s key priorities:

  • $700,000 for student scholarships
  • $31.4 million in external research funding
  • 100,465 people reached through UConn Extension
  • Continued efforts to address structural racism

We are thrilled with these accomplishments, and plan to continue to build on our success in the coming months.

After a year that has tested us all in so many unforeseen ways, I look forward to the opportunity to come together in the future and thank you in person for your continued support of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. Until that time, please know how much we value and appreciate your support.

Go Huskies.

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director

A Message from the Dean

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.

Go Huskies.

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director

A Message from the Dean

Dear CAHNR Alumni and Friends,

I hope your new year has gotten off to a great start.

I am pleased to bring some of the highlights from CAHNR since my last communication to you. Our faculty, staff, and students successfully completed the fall semester. Despite many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, completing the fall semester as initially planned was a no trivial feat. I am proud of the dedication, hard work, and determination of our faculty, staff, and students. The spring semester is well underway, and it looks very much like fall 2020 with reduced density in class rooms and offices. However, with the rollout of COVID vaccines, I hope that fall 2021 will bring much sense of normalcy for face to face teaching and interactions among faculty, staff, and students.

We have started implementing CAHNR strategic vision. Implementation teams are hard at work, developing a road map for each strategic priority. We have also initiated a Working Group on Structural Racism as part of the CAHNR’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The working group will explore opportunities to learn about the history of structural racism and share these learning opportunities with our colleagues throughout the college. This effort was spawned by a closer look at the Strategic Initiatives. The Working Group will consider how we can enhance the Strategic Initiatives by including or reflecting their findings.

On March 23-24, 2021, CAHNR will participate in UConn Gives, a 36-hour giving initiative that brings UConn Nation together to support the University we all love. I encourage you to participate in this event and spread the word to your fellow Huskies using #UConnGives. During the UConn Gives, you can maximize your gift’s impact through many opportunities for dollar-for-dollar matches and challenges. CAHNR’s commitment to providing life-transforming education to all of our students has remained constant during these uncertain times. I hope that you will support this commitment to excellence by participating in this event.

I hope you will enjoy reading some of the stories highlighting excellence in teaching, research, and extension in this issue of the newsletter. I always look forward to connecting with you and hearing your thoughts and ideas about how CAHNR can continue to bring excellence in our core mission areas of teaching, research, and extension outreach.

I wish you and your loved ones a new year filled with joy, peace, success, and hope.

Go Huskies.

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean and Director

A message from the Dean

Greetings. As we approach the end of a year none of us will soon forget, I want to take a moment to say how proud I am of the work done by the students, faculty and staff of our College. It was a challenging time, but together we celebrated many accomplishments.

Our students persevered by adapting to new ways of learning to complete the spring and fall semesters. We made access and success a priority by providing more than $690,000 to over 330 students.

We introduced new programs in our nationally-recognized departments. Allied Health Sciences launched a new four-year degree at the Waterbury campus. The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment started a new program in urban forestry and arboriculture in addition to a graduate certificate in remote sensing and geospatial data analytics.

This year, the College received a $10 million USDA grant to study food safety related to antibiotics restricted poultry production. Our faculty will collaborate with researchers from twelve other institutions, the poultry industry and poultry producers. This grant is the largest in our history. In fact, research funding received by our faculty increased by more than 60 percent compared to the last year, totaling over $35 million.

Our Extension faculty worked tirelessly to assist Connecticut residents during these difficult times. Coordinating with the dairy industry and volunteers, they distributed milk and dairy products to more than 100 food pantries who serve more than 10,000 families in the state.

Our College completed a strategic vision to guide us for the next decade and we reaffirmed our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

These are only a few of the many accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff. Thanks to your continued support, our College continues to fulfill its mission in teaching, research and extension education.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and joyful holiday season and a new year full of hope. Be well.

Indrajeet Chaubey
Dean of the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources


A Message from the Dean

Dear CAHNR alumni and friends,

I hope this second issue of our newsletter finds you well and enjoying the fall.

I write today with exciting news from the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. As one of our alumni, you probably know that the College has changed and grown in recent years. In 2014, its new name, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, reflected the addition of the Departments of Allied Health Sciences and Kinesiology. The areas of study and focus on human health brought by these new departments augment our strong programs in animal science, plant science, environmental and economic sustainability, natural resources management, human and animal health and nutrition, food, and healthy and resilient communities. This unique combination of disciplines within CAHNR provides exceptional opportunities for collaboration and innovation to help address issues emerging in our ever-changing world.

In Fall 2019, faculty and staff embarked on an ambitious effort to identify key areas in which the College would have the greatest potential for impact and develop a strategic vision to guide us in developing and focusing our programs.

A committee of 25 faculty and staff spent several months last fall and winter collecting input from listening sessions and personal interviews with internal and external CAHNR stakeholders and representatives of peer and aspirant institutions. Discussions and interviews produced more than 10,000 points addressing strengths of the College and trends and issues affecting our society, state, industries, and communities.

Committee members completed their data analysis and synthesis of the strategic vision during the spring semester, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown.

I am proud to share with you the College’s Strategic Vision for 2020–2025. Guided by its mission statement, core values, and four interconnected strategic initiatives, we will ensure the vibrancy, relevance, and continued success of the College’s research, teaching, and extension programs as we work to address some of society’s most challenging and urgent issues.

Future issues of our newsletter will bring you highlights of programs and progress in the implementation of our Strategic Vision.



Indrajeet Chaubey
Dean and Director

A message from the Dean

As we begin the fall 2020 semester, I write to bring you up to date on exciting developments in the College, including the receipt of a $10 million grant from USDA NIFA and a $1.7 million bequest from a Nutritional Sciences alumna. Following an extraordinary spring, faculty, staff and administrators have spent the summer developing ambitious and comprehensive plans for reopening the University, and the College’s teaching, research and extension programs are in full operation.

With this email, I’m pleased to launch our new CAHNR quarterly newsletter, in which you’ll find announcements and stories about our programs, events and achievements. In the next issue, we will introduce the College’s new Strategic Vision and its four areas of strategic initiative, which will guide us for the next ten years.

Recent events across the nation have sparked an energetic conversation in the College regarding how best to fulfill our commitment to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive environment, within the College and for our stakeholders and the communities we serve. We have convened a working group whose members are working with Dr. Frank Tuitt, UConn’s new Chief Diversity Officer, and the College’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion to seek input from across the College and develop specific DEI action items, timelines and measures of success.

I hope that you and your loved ones are well and join us in looking forward to the coming months.

Indrajeet Chaubey
Dean and Director
College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources

New study quantifies Connecticut green industry’s economic impact

Green industry press conference at the Capitol, Friday, February 7, 2020. From left to right: ARE MS student Christopher Laughton; Maggie Bridge, Sam Bridge Nursery and CNLA board member; CAHNR Dean Indrajeet Chaubey; Dustyn Nelson, president, CNLA and CAHNR alumnus; Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurlburt. Photo by Bonnie Burr.

A just-released report by CAHNR’s Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy, Impact of the Green Industry on Connecticut’s Economy, highlights the economic importance of ornamental horticulture in our state.

“While every sector of the agriculture industry is important to the economy of Connecticut, ornamental horticulture currently accounts for more than half of the state’s agricultural sales,” says Rigoberto Lopez, Richard DelFavero Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE). “The green industry should be recognized properly as an integral part of Connecticut’s agriculture.”

Chris Laughton, ARE master’s candidate and director of knowledge exchange at Farm Credit East, completed the project as an independent study under the supervision of Lopez. Laughton brings his own horticultural and business experience to the project, having worked in his family nursery business and having earned a degree in horticulture from Cornell and an MBA from UMass Amherst.

The study was requested and funded by the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA), with input from Extension Educator Victoria Wallace and CNLA president and legislative board coordinator Dustyn Nelson.

The total economic impact to the state from the green industry totaled $4.7 billion in 2017. This data is based on year-end 2017, the last census year for the USDA Census of Agriculture. “It’s a significant contribution to the economy of Connecticut,” Laughton says.

Continue reading at Naturally@UConn.