CSU president will ‘ramp up’ emphasis on agriculture
DENVER – Colorado State University has drifted away from recognizing the importance of agriculture in the past, but President Tony Frank intends to change that in the future.
Frank, who took over the presidency of the state’s land grant institution less than a year ago, told the Governor’s Forum on Agriculture Thursday that he intends to oversee several changes at the university to chart a new emphasis on agriculture.
“CSU has not made an investment in ag as it has in other areas and that’s unfortunate,” Frank said. But since becoming the 14th president at CSU, he has traveled the state and listening to what people think and want CSU should be doing.
Frank and Craig Beyrouty, who joined CSU as the dean of the college of agricultural sciences in July of last year, talked about changes they intend to make and the future direction of CSU will take.
Frank said CSU has closed some experiment stations in the past year with the intent of consolidating services “to do a better job in fewer places.” That hasn’t been acceptable in some areas, but he said it had to be done.
He has also worked with the Colorado Forest Service, extension offices, county commissioners and others to determine what changes need to be accomplished.
“We cannot be a great land grant university without a great college of ag sciences. We will focus on those areas of agriculture that are important to Colorado and the nation,” Frank said.
But, he said, that will not be done without the cooperation of the agricultural community, including the state’s production and livestock organizations, many of whom he has met with.
“We should be allies, which hasn’t always been the case,” he said.
At that end, Beyrouty has been charged with developing strategic research at CSU and what agriculture needs to do to resonate with the general population.
The criteria for strategic initiatives at the university must be relative to Colorado and the nation, being able to be competitive for grant funding, be multidisciplinary, reflect current college expertise and attract quality undergraduate and graduate students.
“We had a jobs fair (Wednesday) and were told by employers that they were impressed with our students, but there weren’t enough of them,” Beyrouty said.
He and Frank promised that area and others will change.
“We want to ramp up your land grant university to be the best advocate for your industry,” Frank said.