Dr. Clint Rusk Shares His Vision for the Future as Head of OSU's Animal and Food Science Dept.Thu, 21 Mar 2019 16:42:55 CDT
Last year, the Animal Science Department in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University underwent a name change to include a growing segment within the department. Now called, the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, all students enrolled in the program are better represented within OSU’s historically largest department. Department Head Dr. Clint Rusk sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays this week during the Oklahoma Youth Expo to talk about the state of the department and review a few of its most recent activities. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Last fall, according to Rusk, the department had at one time approximately 1,069 students enrolled, with 42 US states represented.
“Obviously, that number is a little bit fluid. But, things in the department I feel are really good and headed in the right direction,” Rusk said. “We continue to attract really good students and that to me is what makes our department so special.”
As home to one of the most popular majors on campus, the department has been able to acquire the funding necessary for the improvement of its facilities which are some of the newest at OSU. Rusk says one of the highlights of the projects currently underway is the department’s new dairy facilities - complete with housing for employed students and a robotic milking parlor designed not only as a tool for education, but recruitment as well.
“We’re certainly looking for the next group of students and we felt like the dairy facility - if built right - we could potentially have a place where bus loads of 3rd or 4th graders would come and see the robot milking cows and at the same time talk to them about the baby calves and where their milk comes from… just help them learn more about agriculture. And potentially, some of them might want to come to school there some day.”
No tool is more effective at recruiting, though, than the exposure OSU receives at OYE where he and his team are able to interact with 4-H and FFA members - or potential students as Rusk sees them. And while he is always mindful of recruiting new students, he is also always looking to augment his faculty with the best and brightest candidates.
“We’re always looking for somebody. My goal with that many students - I’d love to be at 40 faculty members. We’re at 28 right now and we’re very please with the faculty we have,” he said, remarking on a few of the newest hires that include Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson, Dr. Andrew Foot and Dr. Paul Beck who have already made a tremendous impact in the department’s body of work and extension which Rusk says he would like to continue to expand upon. “I would love to see our research efforts be as strong as our teaching.
“I think we’re known as a really strong teaching department across the country and that’s certainly important. But, we need to be equally as strong as a research institution and I believe we can be.”
OSU recently received top tier status as a research institution. Rusk remarked that he would prefer to see his department contribute more to that accomplishment by supplementing his faculty to facilitate more collaborative research.
“Faculty members that are most successful as you look around the country are usually part of a bigger team. Many of the areas in our department are maybe just one or two faculty members deep,” he said. “So, we just need to add some additional folks to take on some new projects and utilize new technology.”
Our Coverage of the 2019 Oklahoma Youth Expo is once again a service of ITC Great Plains, Your Energy Superhighway- learn more about this high voltage, transmission only utility and their commitment to the communities they serve which is the cornerstone of their business-click here for their website.
Reports will be heard daily on great radio stations that cover Oklahoma and that are a part of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network- on the internet- our reports of the 2019 OYE can be found on the Blue Green Gazette page- available here. We will be adding pictures daily to our official 2019 OYE Album of Photos on FLICKR, found here.
For more information about the Oklahoma Youth Expo, click here for the home page of the OYE website.
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