Department Head Letter 2017

Dear Friends:

Jim Bradeen Aurora Sporealis Department Head LetterWe are amazing. I know that isn’t modest, but it’s true. This department, our alumni, friends, and donors continue to deliver impacts that change people’s lives, solve plant health challenges, feed the world, save the environment, and train tomorrow’s leaders. I am constantly in awe of what we do together. This issue of the Aurora Sporealis features just some of what we’ve accomplished this year. There are a few things I want to highlight:

We asked for your input--and boy did you give it! Earlier this year, we asked what you wanted to see in the Aurora Sporealis. I was blown away by the feedback and we have worked hard to respond to the many great suggestions:

  • This year, you will see even more alumni-focused content. Some of this is reflected in the pages of the Aurora, but to get the full effect, subscribe to our eNews (our monthly electronic companion to the Aurora).
  • In the pages of the Aurora, you will also see more news about what current students, staff and faculty are up to.
  • We continue to generate historic content as part of the Living Legacy Project. This dynamic, online history includes photos, written content, video content, and an interactive timeline.
  • You asked for ways to be involved and we want to hear from you! Do you have an update you’d like to share? We’ve created this form to help you share what you are up to today

We have a long history of impacts around the globe, including a legacy of training international scholars, creating research solutions that feed the world, and delivering extension programing to bring solutions to those who need it most. Our department has always thrived on the diversity our international focus has enabled. Diversity of ideas and perspectives is a key resource that helps our department remain innovative and responsive. Today, we are as committed as ever to supporting diversity in all forms for our students, staff, and faculty. We are working in 48 countries on all 7 continents; current students originate from 8 different countries on 5 continents; a new research project led by the Stakman-Borlaug Center brings expanded opportunities for students, staff and faculty to build research collaborations in southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa; an ad-hoc committee led by Professor Cory Hirsch is updating our department’s diversity and inclusion statement and developing relevant professional development programing for the department; and Postdoc Sarah Castle is among the founders of the Artemisa Leadership Initiative, a college-level program to build business and leadership skills for women.

It isn’t a secret that public financial support for academic institutions is on the decline. The University of Minnesota is officially in the midst of an ambitious fundraising Campaign and feeding the world sustainably is among the grand challenges that are the focus of our Campaign. Our department has always enjoyed the support of our alumni and others who believe that plant pathology is essential in feeding the world and maintaining a healthy environment. Please consider a donation to help us continue to train leaders in our field, conduct research that solves plant health problems, and to deliver extension, outreach, and capacity building programing to bring real solutions to those in need. Every gift received will count towards the university’s Campaign goal and will directly contribute to the Department of Plant Pathology. Thank you for your continued support!

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Aurora Sporealis! Happy reading!

Polishing the crown jewel

Jim Bradeen
Department Head