Idaho's No. 1 industry—agriculture—demonstrated its strength in 2010 even in tough times. The University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences showed similar resilience despite erosion of nearly a fifth of its workforce—70 positions—due to budget cuts.
*Enrollment Up. Fall semester’s student enrollment rose by nearly 10 percent, demonstrating strong interest in academic disciplines that offer a solid foundation for career building.
*National Faculty Recognition. College faculty in turn showed that student confidence is well placed, winning recognition as teachers and experts in their fields. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities honored agricultural economist Stephen Devadoss with its West Regional Teaching Award, one of only six nationwide.
Devadoss, whose graduate students tackle real-world issues, is CALS third faculty member to win the award since 1997. Amin Ahmadzadeh, associate professor of dairy science, won in 2007 and this year won a distinguished teacher award from the American Society of Animal Science.
USDA officials tapped CALS Associate Dean John Foltz as an advisor to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which provides essential data to world markets.
University of Idaho Extension’s successes: Marilyn Bischoff and Bev Healey, both family and consumer sciences professors, won honors from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education for their success teaching Idaho adults estate planning basics.
*College Downsizes. Financial forces that ripped through state budgets forced the college to downsize even beyond the 70 positions. Faculty shuffle: Former Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry faculty split to realign research and teaching programs. Animal- and plant-focused researchers shifted to food science and plant science.
Faculty with a biomedical focus are now with the College of Science, taking 100 former CALS students with them. R&E Center cuts: Economic challenges for college research and extension centers eased as public/private partners stepped forward to shoulder some costs.
Sandpoint is mothballed for now. Tetonia, vital to all new Northwest potato varieties, runs at a smaller scale with help from barley, wheat and potato commissions. J.R. Simplot Co., drew international interest in June to its research that now aids the Parma R&E Center.