Message from Department Head

Message from the Department Head
Fall, 2021

The faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication are incredibly motivated to get to work this new academic year in service and leadership of ALEC undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, alumni, and the state of Georgia.

This semester is a time for us to reconnect and reboot our resources to redefine and design our future in light of all that 2021 (and beyond) presents us with. The agricultural and environmental science fields have been particularly impacted by the pandemic as we are called to address an evolving set of complex scientific problems through leadership, education, and elevated communication.

Our industry partners are making their way, too. As the Georgia Farm Bureau reminds us, farmers and ranchers are #StillFarming—providing for the nation as a frontline industry critical to community health and national security.

Stress and anxiety are at alarming levels as rural families and agricultural stakeholders cope with tightening federal regulations, combat non-scientific claims about agriculture and the environment, and seek support to implement sophisticated science in their operations. Agribusinesses are challenged to create and maintain a sustainable supply chain, explore innovative business strategies, develop and implement technology, and plan for an uncertain future. Agricultural educators have turned themselves into virtual magicians, creating compelling online pedagogy in a discipline that has forever relied on hands-on learning.

And this semester, ALEC faculty welcome two classes of students who are new to campus life (or graduate school). We continue to prepare students to enter a changing landscape of working and organizational life. Although we may struggle to cope with a relatively unknown present and future ourselves, we find ways to rise above our own concerns to be a source of stability and reassurance for students.

But these challenges and difficulties serve as motivation to us. We are a department of outstanding scholars, teachers, and extension specialists working in a dynamic nationally-ranked College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. We relentlessly pursue the most innovative, evidence-based ways to prepare educators and researchers, develop leaders, and communicate scientific information to those who need it.

Through our commitments to innovation, meaningful relationships with students, and productive community/industry partnerships, UGA ALEC will be a top-ranked program in the discipline.

Our students, parents, industry partners, and alumni are the heart of what we do and why we do it, so please keep in touch. I welcome your questions, feedback, and friendship.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to connect meaningfully and serve the ALEC family.

Cordially,

Jennifer H. Waldeck, Ph.D.

Jennifer H Waldeck Professor and Department Head