SVIC Updates Page

There are multiple opportunities for faculty and staff to engage with the Strategic Vision Implementation Committees (SVICs); work is ongoing and relies on the input of our entire college to help fulfill the bold steps identified by the visioning process. Updates will be regularly added to this page for your convenience.


Administrative Support

Dr. Elaine Lee - CAHNR Leadership Fellow -

Stacey Stearns - SVIC Coordination -

SVIC Co-Chairs

SVIC Co-Chairs

Ensuring a Vibrant and Sustainable Agricultural Industry and Food Supply

Yangchao Luo (NUSC)

Wei Ren (NRE)


Advancing Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate

Rob Huggins (KINS)

Anita Morzillo (NRE)


Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Through Anti-Racist Approaches

Neha Mishra (Diversity Committee) - (PATH)

Sherry Gray (Diversity Committee) - (EXT)

Zbigniew Grabowski (WGSR) - (EXT)


Enhancing Health and Well-Being Locally, Nationally, and Globally

Sarah Reed (ANSC)

Cheryl Ordway (AHS)


Fostering Sustainable Landscapes Across Urban-Rural Interfaces

Dave Dickson (EXT)

Jill Desimini (PSLA)


Upcoming Events

One Health Conference

Monday, April 1, 2024
Student Union Ballroom
9:00 a.m. - 4:3o p.m.


Registration is closed/the conference is full



2024 SVIC Funding

2024 SVIC Funded Projects

We received 29 funding requests for a total of $313,840 for the available $100,000 in SVIC funds. The following projects were funded for the spring 2024 semester (in alphabetical order by submitters name):

Project Leader Project Team Members Project Name SVICs Funding Amount
Cary Chadwick Zbignew Grabowski, Mary Beth Osborne, Mary Anne Amalaradjou, Sharon Gray, Neha Mishra, Laura Cisneros, Mary Ellen Welch, Kristen Cooksey Stowers, Faye Griffiths-Smith, The HartBeat Ensemble and UConn Office of Diversity and Inclusion Developing a Strategic Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Statement and Preliminary Plan for CAHNR Diversity $15,000
Jill Desimini Co Project Lead: Erin Kelly, AICP PLA PMP & Project Consultants: Cary Chadwick, Extension Educator, Emily Wilson, Geospatial Extension Educator CT State Parcel Layer Data Set GIS Analysis Sustainable Landscapes & Climate $13,481
Maryann Fusco Rollins and Mary Ellen Welch National Council for Mental Wellbeing Mentors: Chi Catalone: Food, Families, and Health, Nutrition Links Supervisor, Extension Educator, Penn State Sonya Nace: Nutrition Links Supervisor, Extension Educator, Supervisor MHFA, Penn State Mental Health First Aid Training Health $12,340
Marya Ivelisse Rodriguez and Cynnamon Dobbs UConn Natural Resources Conservation Academy, UConn Master Gardener, UConn 4-H, and the CT Forest and Park Association Technical support groups to address environmental and climate justice issues in nature-deprived and financially distressed communities Diversity; Climate $15,000
Rigoberto Lopez Connecticut Sea Grant/UConn Extension (Tessa Getchis, co-PI), Farm Credit East (Christopher Laughton, co-PI), CT Department of Agriculture/Aquaculture Bureau, IMPLAN, and the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis Updating the Economic Impacts for Connecticut Agriculture Ag & Food $15,000 (partially funded by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture)
Julia Smachylo Zbigniew Grabowski A Visual Exploration of Forests and Urbanization in Connecticut Sustainable Landscapes; Climate $5,729.77
Jackson Somers Municipal Waste Management Infrastructure Climate; Health; Sustainable Landscapes $6000
Md Elias Uddin Richard Meinert Connecticut Dairy and Beef Producers’ Perspective about Current and Future Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies and Concept of Sustainability Ag & Food; Climate $14,945
Indu Upadhyaya (Extension) Abhinav Upadhyay (Animal Science), Jennifer Jedd (Nonnewaug High School), Christine Martin (Glastonbury High School), Nicole McKay (CT Poultry Association) Wings of Wisdom: Fostering Sustainable Poultry Innovation in Connecticut through Academic-Community Collaboration Ag & Food; Health $15,000
Molly Waring Mothers' Online Health Information Ecosystems Health $14,977

SVIC Updates

Everyone in CAHNR can join an SVIC, and we encourage you to join one or more and become involved. Our work in CAHNR is part of the SVICs, whether you actively participate on an implementation committee or not. Please contact a co-chair if you are interested in learning more about the work of the SVICs or becoming involved.


Expectations for the SVICs

  • Increase collaboration among faculty and staff in CAHNR.
    • Increase grant funding and scholarship, including expansion in the funding agencies.
    • Develop new curriculum and courses for workforce readiness among undergraduate students.
    • Develop and strengthen statewide partnerships and outreach through Extension and other services.
  • Identify and advocate for new positions in CAHNR departments where expertise is needed for the SVIC.
  • Foster innovative ideas and projects in research, teaching, and extension that further the mission.
  • Improve the outcomes addressed in our vision through measurable progress in these areas (the SVICs define the objectives with input from CAHNR leadership and support teams).
  • Contribute to the collective impact that CAHNR has on the state, regional, and national levels.


2024 SVIC Funding Request for Proposals

2023-2024 SVIC Funding Request

Due: January 12, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. EST

Last year, with the 2022 SVIC Funding Request, we received a total of $395,660 in requests from 23 proposals for $250,000 available funds. We thank you for your time and to the funded groups that worked to submit in the short turnaround opportunity in December 2022 and worked through the January-June 2023 project cycle to help move our SVIC aims forward in the major priority areas. A summary of projects is available below.

Submission instructions:

Please submit proposals using the Microsoft Forms at the following link:


Submitters may submit more than one proposal and proposals may be from individuals or from committees/sub-committees.

Dr. Elaine C. Lee will be available for questions and guidance during regular hours at on Webex each morning during the week at 8 a.m., open office hours online:

SVIC Funding Guidance Open Office Hours

Hosted by Elaine Lee

Monday, December 4, 2023 8:00 AM | 1 hour | (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Occurs every weekday effective 12/4/2023 until 12/29/2023 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Meeting number: 2630 398 7300

Password: SqUR4dcVu49

Join by video system


You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Join by phone

+1-415-655-0002 US Toll

Access code: 263 039 87300

Proposal preparation for committee and subcommittee preparers:

The funding opportunity includes a total of $100,000 that will be available for projects that have start date of January 15, 2024 and must be completed by June 15, 2024 (to meet the fiscal year closeout). Please use the template below to prepare application items that you will enter into the application form linked above. We will ask for a brief project summary with a sufficiently detailed budget that shows how you intend to use this funding. Please emphasize the outcomes, ways to measure, and impact of your proposed work on accelerating the SVIC’s work. Proposals with emphasis on work that will support current aims and efforts will be reviewed more favorably. Maximum budget is $15,000 for any single project.

SVIC Name (and SVIC subcommittee name):

Project Lead (Name and Email):

Funding Amount Requested:

Summary of Project (maximum 750 words):

Project partners or vendors (if any):

Designation of which SVIC(s) aims this project moves forward (you will check boxes for each of the 5 SVIC areas):

Ensuring a Vibrant and Sustainable Agricultural Industry and Food Supply

Advancing Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate

Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Through Anti-Racist Approaches

Enhancing Health and Well-Being Locally, Nationally, and Globally

Fostering Sustainable Landscapes Across Urban-Rural Interfaces

Detailed budget: (not to exceed $15,000 – please list item and approximate cost)

Examples of allowable costs: personnel, materials & supplies, consultant services, computer services, publications

Additional Information:

Tentative timeline is as follows. Additional communication about timeline and meeting schedules will be sent if changes are made.

Date Description
December 31, 2023, Sunday

11:59 p.m. EST

Deadline for submissions
January 2-5, 2024 Consolidation of submitted proposals and follow-up with submitters for any incomplete items or follow-up pre-review questions
January 5, 2024 Complete proposal packets for review to reviewers/leadership
January 8-12, 2024 Review and Decisions

Committee meeting schedules or progress will be communicated to SVIC committees, faculty, and staff

Estimated January 15, 2024

Exact dates TBD

Notice of funding or follow-up to proposal submitters

Announcement of proposal review summary and funded proposals will be sent to all committees

January – March 2024 Discussion with unfunded proposal teams to discuss future opportunities
March 2023 Meet with project managers and leadership/administrative team to discuss progress and opportunities for support and assistance with challenges.
June 15, 2024 Deadline for use of funds
July 31, 2024 Final report due

Funded proposals will come with reporting requirements to demonstrate the impact of the work completed and outcomes of the projects to accelerate or advance SVIC work.

Full review and feedback on all proposals, funded and unfunded will be sent to submitters at notice of funding in January 2024.

What happens to the unfunded proposals?

Because of the short turnaround nature of this Funding Opportunity and that CAHNR leadership is well aware that submission requires an immense effort in a few short weeks during a busy time of year, we will make every effort to work with submitters of proposals that are not funded to find innovative and productive ways to support projects, support efforts to seek additional funding, and provide feedback to assist with supporting as many ways to accelerate SVIC aims as possible. The unfunded proposals will have attention and follow-up after the January 2024 announcement.

2023 SVIC Project Funding Updates

CAHNR provided $250,000 in funding for SVIC related projects. The purpose of these funds is to accelerate the SVIC’s work, and there were 23 proposals for a total of $395,660 in requested funds.

Review was conducted and proposals were assigned to two categories: 1) immediately fund for January-June 2023 cycle, and 2) discuss alternative funding options.

Category 2 proposals were either too large scope for January-June 2023 cycle or more information was needed to proceed with the project. The SVIC leadership team is meeting with each group to discuss ways to support the proposed project.

Individuals and SVICs were encouraged to submit to receive all potential project ideas and needs for Elaine to proceed with project assignments for the SVIC Leadership Fellow in the coming year. All 23 projects will have attention and some support from Stacey and Elaine to move forward or receive feedback and suggestions.

APPROVED Names of projects and Submitters (Funded for January through June 2023)

Request Name PI SVIC
Initiating a Green Infrastructure Planning Tool for Resilient Communities Z. Grabowski & Dickson Landscapes (also Climate focus)
Supporting CT Ag Producers Needs Assessment Cristina Connolly Ag & Food
Advancing Environmental & Climate Justice in CT Rodriguez Gonzalez Climate (also Diversity focus)
Solid Ground Program Stipends Jiff Martin Ag & Food (also Diversity focus)
Let's Get Growing Jacqueline Kowalski Ag & Food (also Diversity focus)
Extraction of chitin from seafood shell waste for sustainable agriculture Yangchao Luo Ag & Food
Enhancing Health & Food Security with EFNEP Heather Peracchio Health (also Diversity focus)
HartBeat Ensemble, "Stuck in the Tape," An Interactive Play Amalaradjou, Chadwick, Cisneros, Cooksey-Stowers, Dickson Diversity
Interactive Map of Water Quality Data for the Long Island Sound Watershed Helton, Wilson, Lei-Parent, Hare Landscapes
Support for CT Trails Anita Morzillo, Emily Wilson, Michael Puglisi Climate (also Health, Landscapes & Diversity areas)
Development of statewide dataset of high-resolution riparian corridor land cover Dickson, Chadwick Climate (also Landscape focus)


Request Name PI SVIC
Addressing the Maternal Mortality Crisis in Black Women Sherry Pagoto Health
Piloting Methods for 1930s Landcover Dataset Robert Fahey Landscapes (also Climate focus)


ONGOING PROJECT PLANNING – Names of projects and Submitters

Request Name PI SVIC
Sustainable Ag @ CAHNR SVIC Ag & Food
Sustainable Ag & Food Systems Conference (Planning Grant) SVIC Ag & Food
Developing Proposals Planning Grant SVIC Ag & Food
ExCEL (Educating, Engagement, Leadership) Mary Anne Amalaradjou Ag & Food
Translation of Fact Sheets on Ag & Food and Solid Ground into Spanish Jenifer Nadeau Ag & Food
Human Health Collaborative Initiative Eleni Diakogeorgiou Health
Extension services in Ugandan Schools Nathan Fiala Health (also Ag-Food focus)
Digital Health Tools & Resources Molly Waring Health
CAHNR Transformation Plan Toward Belonging, Racial Equity, Access, Diversity, & Inclusion Amalaradjou, Chadwick, Cisneros, Cooksey-Stowers Diversity
Increasing Household Food Waste Composting Connolly & Somers Landscapes (also Ag-Food focus)

Spring 2023 Action Items

Thank you to everyone that attended our 2023 SVIC Winter Workshop. The action items created by each of the SVICs are listed below. This is the first of many opportunities for everyone to work with their SVIC this semester, and for the SVICs to collaborate among each other too. Action items and updates on objectives and outcomes will be regularly added.

Agriculture and Food

Sustainable Agriculture Networking and Conference

Outcome: Advance awareness, knowledge, and adoption of innovative, sustainable approaches to agriculture, including controlled environment agriculture so that all producers are aware of and incorporate practices. 

Objective: To host a conference/workshop on sustainable agriculture production that increases networking and collaboration among CAHNR and others at UConn working in this area.

Identify Research Topics for Controlled Environment Agriculture

Outcome: Advance awareness, knowledge, and adoption of innovative, sustainable approaches to agriculture, including controlled environment agriculture so that all producers are aware of and incorporate practices. 

Objective: Identify two to three research topics in controlled environment agriculture and potential interdisciplinary research grant opportunities.


Enhancing Health and Well-being Locally, Nationally, and Globally

Maximizing Sport and Physical Performance and Improving Injury Prevention, Recovery and Rehabilitation

Outcome: CAHNR Collaboration Workshop on 2/7/23. We are hopeful that this can continue as a working group that meets 1x/semester to discuss progress and initiatives.

Objective: To host a workshop and have a round table discussion to describe activities as they relate to human health within the college, identify intersectionality between programs and discuss opportunities for collaboration

Build Connections at the Nexus of Human, Animal, Plant, and Environmental Health (aka ONEHEALTH@CAHNR)

Outcome: OneHealth Expo

Objective: Plan and obtain funding for a OneHealth Expo

Build Connections at the Nexus of Human, Animal, Plant, and Environmental Health (aka ONEHEALTH@CAHNR)

Outcome: Updated website that is a resource for current and prospective students, faculty, staff, administration, and the general public, that is “the” place to go for OneHealth information.

Objective: Update the website with new content, promote the website, move to the college level (currently under extension).

Build Connections at the Nexus of Human, Animal, Plant, and Environmental Health (aka ONEHEALTH@CAHNR)

Outcome: Identify overlap among co-occurring, separate efforts to design One Health curricula including courses, micro-credentials, and minors.

Objective: Meeting will be held by June 2023 of key leaders from One Health curricula initiatives to find synergies, limit overlap, and finalize courses for One Health minor.

Build Connections at the Nexus of Human, Animal, Plant, and Environmental Health (aka ONEHEALTH@CAHNR)

Outcome: Meet and Greet activity for CAHNR faculty/staff to come together to network and learn about OneHealth efforts

Objective: Informal gathering for social networking and open introduction/dialogue

Working Group on Structural Racism/Diversity and Inclusion Committee

SVIC Big Goal for CAHNR:  A Strategic Vision & Diversity Plan (with resources) for CAHNR

SVIC 2023 Focus Goal: Conduct an Equity Audit of CAHNR Organization Policies, Practices, Systems and Content

Objective & Outcome: The objective is to identify policies, programs, and practices that directly or indirectly impact CAHNR students, faculty or staff relative to their race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, color, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or other socio-culturally significant factors. Data collected through a policy audit can be used to inform the process of removing institutional barriers that impede full participation, access and opportunity to students, faculty, staff, and community partnerships across the College. This effort must be broken down into manageable phases and will require resources (faculty and staff time, DEI professional guidance, student hire). The objective for the spring 2023 semester is to identify a leadership structure to coordinate the work, assemble content experts to inform the process, and outline a data collection plan.

Outcome: Identification of structural barriers and opportunity gaps that contribute to a negative climate for some students, faculty and staff in CAHNR. Use of information to inform change.

SVIC Big Goal for CAHNR:  Strengthen Communication Around DEIJ within CAHNR

SVIC 2023 Focus Goal: Build the Capacity of the SVIC and Improve Communication of DEI Initiatives across CAHNR

Objective: The objective is to strengthen communication structure around DEI within CAHNR to facilitate flow of information, knowledge, ideas and feelings. This is both top-down (Admin leadership level) & bottom up (students, staff, faculty, community partners). Also across SVICs. This might include establishing a meeting structure, student, faculty, staff round table discussions or forums, etc. to collate around common values, goals and objectives; explore various methods for gathering input, feedback, complaints and compliments, encourage greater participation in discussions and initiatives.

Outcome: Outcomes would include increased participation in DEI initiatives, better communication between the SVIC and College leadership, opportunities for CAHNR students, faculty, and staff to contribute input and feedback, and a more representative and transparent communication strategy for the College.

Advancing Climate Adaptation and Resilence

Climate Alliance

Outcome: To bring together key stakeholders and establish the foundational tenants for a functioning Climate Alliance within CAHNR


Long Term: To Develop a Climate Alliance that serves the needs of UCONN, CAHNR, the state, and beyond.

Short Term: To assemble the group with the purpose of developing a mission/vison, determine subgroups/working groups, develop synergies.

Networking Tree

Outcome: To grow a functioning internal communication platform with engagement by all CAHNR users

Objective: To provide training on Connect Extension to the departments and capabilities to grow our CAHNR Family Tree

Fostering Sustainable Landscapes

Outcome: Improve Water Quality in the State and LISS

Objective: Enhance data informing sustainable landscape decisions

Action Items: water quality dashboard, riparian data layer collection, green infrastructure planning tool, inventory of statewide natural resource data, among others.

Outcome: Advancing landscape sustainability science and practice in Connecticut

Objective: Enhance connections between CAHNR faculty & with other faculty across campus

Action Items: Joint SVIC meeting with Gene Likens and Climate, Connect with planning committee for Securing our Environment symposium, Lunch and Learn, Identify next big ideas