CS Mott Foundation eclipses $1 billion in Flint grants

 

FLINT, MI — More than $1 billion has been dispersed in the greater Flint area by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation since it was established in the community more than 90 years ago.

A $3.2 million grant to the Crim Fitness Foundation in continued support of a community education initiative started in 2014 at Flint Community Schools’ Brownell-Holmes STEM Academy pushed the foundation over the $1 billion mark.

The initiative is described by the foundation as a “modern-day model” of the neighborhood schools idea started in 1935 by Charles Stewart Mott and local educator Frank J. Manley Jr. and provides students with nutritional support, sports, adult education, and community assistance.

“Since the day my great-grandfather created our foundation, we’ve been committed to Flint,” said Mott Foundation President Ridgway White in a news release. “It seems especially fitting that the grant that put us over the $1 billion mark locally supports something he cared about so deeply — community education.”

He stressed the importance of community education in the city as it works to recover from the water crisis, as well as the school district’s role as “vital hubs for services and places for people to connect with one another.”

“This grant to support community education is vital to helping us serve students, families and all residents of Flint,” said Bilal Tawwab, superintendent of Flint Community Schools. “This isn’t just a program that we implement. It’s our name. It’s who we are. It’s how we do school.”

The C.S. Mott Foundation celebrated its 90th anniversary in June 2016. The foundation made 420 grants for more than $120 million in 2016 alone, with the focus of grants on civil society, education, environment and the Flint area.

“From community education to afterschool programs, and from the city’s public library and arts and cultural institutions to the county parks system, we hope everyone in Flint and Genesee County benefits from the organizations, programs and projects we fund,” said William S. White, chairman and CEO of the C.S. Mott Foundation. “Flint is our home. We’ve been here for 90 years, and we’ll be here for the next 90.”

Minnesota schools say student support grants paying off – MPR News


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They visit families at home to talk about school attendance. They show first-graders how to share and teach fourth-graders to manage anxiety.

At the Fridley school district’s alternative program, the new social worker even goes to court with students who have chronic absenteeism.

“She has really been able to connect students to resources that they might not even have known they need,” said principal Amy Cochran.

Seventy-seven schools around Minnesota, including five in Fridley, hired so-called “support staff” this year with $12 million in state grants announced last November. Support staff include social workers, counselors, nurses and psychologists.

• Previously: Money for student counseling takes a back seat

Fridley previously had no social workers in the district and now has one at each of its schools. When the six-year grants run out, Fridley administrators say they hope to be able to absorb the full cost and maintain the new positions.

Overall, schools in Minnesota put less of their money toward student support than schools in any other state. Minnesota spent 2.7 percent of education money on student support in 2015, compared to 5.6 percent nationally.

The state education department estimates that last year’s grants will total about $29.3 million in support spending, adding in the matching funds districts are required to contribute.

That increase still doesn’t move Minnesota out of last place for student support spending.

But it does change the school day for students like the ones at Somerset Elementary School in Mendota Heights.

Counselor Jessalin Karsnia used to split her days between two schools in the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan district. Now, with grant funding, she’s full-time at Somerset.

Karsnia said instead of always “trying to put out fires,” she teaches lessons on topics like sharing, friendship and anti-bullying once a week in each of Somerset’s classrooms. She’s available to meet with students any day of the week.

“To say you can only have problems on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I was maybe at that building, is not fair for anyone,” Karsnia said.

Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, pushed for the grant program in 2016 and unsuccessfully proposed an expansion this year. “It’s definitely still a priority,” Kent said. “This is the best solution anybody’s come up with that people agree to.”

• Minnesota’s Graduation Gap: Without support, students left behind

Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement when the grants were awarded that more than 100 schools applied for the money.

In southwestern Minnesota, Worthington schools superintendent John Landgaard said he’s still waiting to see the grant’s impact. He tried to hire a psychologist to split time between Worthington’s elementary, middle and high schools. No luck.

“It took us all year to get somebody hired,” Landgaard said. He just made the hire in the last month and a half of school. Shortages of school psychologists are happening across the country, according to a 2016 report from the American Association for Employment in Education.

“We’re really excited and hopeful that we’ll actually see some of those benefits we anticipated,” Landgaard said.

$70000 a day in interest — the cost of another short-term CPS budget solution

Two expensive loans that Chicago Public Schools secured over the last week will cost roughly $70,000 a day in interest for the cash-strapped district under the terms of the deals.

The district’s borrowing agreements with JPMorgan require CPS to hold $387 million in loans until at least Sept. 29. That means CPS will likely pay a minimum of roughly $7 million in interest, according to a Tribune analysis based on current interest rate forecasts and the terms of both deals.

The two loans are to be repaid with pending Illinois education grants that are delayed as state government appears to be on the brink of entering its third consecutive fiscal year without a budget while accumulating billions of dollars’ worth of past-due bills.

As of June 19, when the district completed the initial loan of $275 million, the state owed the district about $467 million in grants that weren’t paid during the just-completed school year. On Monday, the district borrowed an additional $112 million through JPMorgan, also backed with education grants.

Ball Brothers Foundation awards $500,000 to strengthen medical …

MUNCIE, Ind. — A series of grants totaling $500,000 is helping to reshape how future doctors are trained in Muncie.

Ball Brothers Foundation awarded grants for the effort to four partnering institutions: IU School of Medicine-Muncie, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation, Ball State University, and Meridian Health Services. The grants were developed jointly as a collaboration between the various organizations under the project title “Optimus Primary.”

“Outside of Indianapolis, Muncie’s physician training program is the largest in the state of Indiana,” BBF President and COO Jud Fisher said in a release. “The Optimus Primary grants are the result of two years’ worth of conversations about how our community can reimagine medical training. By strengthening the existing four-year medical school program and the three medical residency programs, we want to make Muncie’s offerings even more attractive to aspiring doctors.

“Furthermore, we know that physicians who train in a community often stay close when they complete their medical training. Our hope is that by giving doctors a great experience while they are training in Muncie, they will choose to practice medicine in our region and state for years to come.”

Grants to each of the four institutions ranged from $100,000 to $150,000. Among the projects funded are efforts to pilot a first-of-its kind “joint-training and team-building program” that will emphasize teamwork, problem-solving, resiliency, and working collaboratively under highly stressful conditions. The program envisions bringing together physicians-in-training, hospital personnel, and emergency first responders for programming that utilizes local training sites.

“The future of healthcare relies on the full range of medical professionals — from EMTs to nurses to doctors — being able to work collaboratively in an ever-changing environment,” Jeff Bird, president of IU Health’s East Region, said in the release. “This funding will allow us to push beyond the boundaries of traditional medical education to try innovative new training approaches that help doctors gain critical skill sets.” The collaborative nature of the training also aims to build a stronger culture of teamwork within Muncie’s healthcare community.

RELATED: Ball Brothers grants to benefit Muncie Schools, Burris

Other projects supported through the “Optimus Primary” grants will offer future doctors opportunities to gain specialized training in integrated health care, mental/behavioral health, and healthy lifestyles. Funding will support opportunities for medical students, medical residents, post-doctoral fellows, and even Ball State undergraduates to receive training and provide integrated health care services, which focus on primary, behavioral, and social health services directly within the hospital and clinical settings.

“The unprecedented demand for integrated health services combined with shortages of physicians and related specialists means that primary care physicians must be working to the top of their own licenses,” Hank Milius, president and CEO of Meridian Health Services, said in the release. “Excellent quality services can be delivered at the primary care level, and providing this type of specialized training to future doctors will only improve patient outcomes. Embedding these services in primary care settings means patients can get the help they need more quickly.

“Adding these training opportunities for future doctors will help make Muncie’s program stand out as cutting edge,” Milius added.

Additional “healthy lifestyles” training components will ensure that future physicians learn to practice medicine in hospital and primary care settings with a mindset toward whole-person health. A pilot program that initially enrolled physicians-in-training in the Ball State University Clinical Exercise Physiology program will be continued through the BBF grants. Through their participation, medical students experience first-hand what it means to engage in regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. The goal is that they would then integrate these lessons into their own care of patients.

“Despite the availability of excellent access to medical care in our community, Delaware County ranks 87th in health outcomes among 92 counties in Indiana,” Lenny Kaminsky, director of BSU’s Fisher Institute of Health and Well-Being, said in the release. “We simply must do a better job of training physicians to support patients in developing healthy behaviors including good dietary habits, regular physical activity and sound mental health practices.”

Funding also will support the creation of “Healthy Lifestyle Centers” where physicians-in-training sharing clinical space with a full-range of allied health professionals such as counselors, dieticians, exercise physiologists, health educators, social workers, speech pathologists, audiologists, and others. Access to these wide-ranging healthcare supports holds promise in improving health outcomes in our community and in ensuring future doctors are well-versed in working in an inter-professional environment to deliver high-quality, integrated care to patients.

A final component of grant funding will expand beyond programming innovations to improve housing options for medical students. Housing that is located near both the medical campus and amenities in the heart of the city is attractive to medical students and will help students to experience the city in a positive way. BBF funding will enhance shared academic and residential space where students can live and learn with their medical cohorts, according to the release.

In reflecting on the significance of the Ball Brothers Foundation grants, Derron Bishop, Director of the IU School of Medicine-Muncie stated, “During the last academic year, 174 medical students and 64 medical residents spent time training in the Muncie and East Central Indiana region. Each of these individuals represents an opportunity to either return to our community as a practicing physician or to be an ambassador for our training programs and city. These innovative projects will help us to carve out a distinctive niche and make Muncie the state’s premiere training site for primary care physicians and other medical professionals.”

Bishop added, “The long-term impact of this funding means, quite simply, better trained physicians and a healthier community.”

Last year, Ball Brothers Foundation celebrated its 90th anniversary, awarding $7.25 million in grants supporting arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services and public affairs. The Muncie-based private foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in BBF’s home city, county and state.
 

Ball Brothers Foundation awards $500000 to strengthen medical education in Muncie

MUNCIE, Ind. — A series of grants totaling $500,000 is helping to reshape how future doctors are trained in Muncie.

Ball Brothers Foundation awarded grants for the effort to four partnering institutions: IU School of Medicine-Muncie, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation, Ball State University, and Meridian Health Services. The grants were developed jointly as a collaboration between the various organizations under the project title “Optimus Primary.”

“Outside of Indianapolis, Muncie’s physician training program is the largest in the state of Indiana,” BBF President and COO Jud Fisher said in a release. “The Optimus Primary grants are the result of two years’ worth of conversations about how our community can reimagine medical training. By strengthening the existing four-year medical school program and the three medical residency programs, we want to make Muncie’s offerings even more attractive to aspiring doctors.

“Furthermore, we know that physicians who train in a community often stay close when they complete their medical training. Our hope is that by giving doctors a great experience while they are training in Muncie, they will choose to practice medicine in our region and state for years to come.”

Grants to each of the four institutions ranged from $100,000 to $150,000. Among the projects funded are efforts to pilot a first-of-its kind “joint-training and team-building program” that will emphasize teamwork, problem-solving, resiliency, and working collaboratively under highly stressful conditions. The program envisions bringing together physicians-in-training, hospital personnel, and emergency first responders for programming that utilizes local training sites.

“The future of healthcare relies on the full range of medical professionals — from EMTs to nurses to doctors — being able to work collaboratively in an ever-changing environment,” Jeff Bird, president of IU Health’s East Region, said in the release. “This funding will allow us to push beyond the boundaries of traditional medical education to try innovative new training approaches that help doctors gain critical skill sets.” The collaborative nature of the training also aims to build a stronger culture of teamwork within Muncie’s healthcare community.

RELATED: Ball Brothers grants to benefit Muncie Schools, Burris

Other projects supported through the “Optimus Primary” grants will offer future doctors opportunities to gain specialized training in integrated health care, mental/behavioral health, and healthy lifestyles. Funding will support opportunities for medical students, medical residents, post-doctoral fellows, and even Ball State undergraduates to receive training and provide integrated health care services, which focus on primary, behavioral, and social health services directly within the hospital and clinical settings.

“The unprecedented demand for integrated health services combined with shortages of physicians and related specialists means that primary care physicians must be working to the top of their own licenses,” Hank Milius, president and CEO of Meridian Health Services, said in the release. “Excellent quality services can be delivered at the primary care level, and providing this type of specialized training to future doctors will only improve patient outcomes. Embedding these services in primary care settings means patients can get the help they need more quickly.

“Adding these training opportunities for future doctors will help make Muncie’s program stand out as cutting edge,” Milius added.

Additional “healthy lifestyles” training components will ensure that future physicians learn to practice medicine in hospital and primary care settings with a mindset toward whole-person health. A pilot program that initially enrolled physicians-in-training in the Ball State University Clinical Exercise Physiology program will be continued through the BBF grants. Through their participation, medical students experience first-hand what it means to engage in regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. The goal is that they would then integrate these lessons into their own care of patients.

“Despite the availability of excellent access to medical care in our community, Delaware County ranks 87th in health outcomes among 92 counties in Indiana,” Lenny Kaminsky, director of BSU’s Fisher Institute of Health and Well-Being, said in the release. “We simply must do a better job of training physicians to support patients in developing healthy behaviors including good dietary habits, regular physical activity and sound mental health practices.”

Funding also will support the creation of “Healthy Lifestyle Centers” where physicians-in-training sharing clinical space with a full-range of allied health professionals such as counselors, dieticians, exercise physiologists, health educators, social workers, speech pathologists, audiologists, and others. Access to these wide-ranging healthcare supports holds promise in improving health outcomes in our community and in ensuring future doctors are well-versed in working in an inter-professional environment to deliver high-quality, integrated care to patients.

A final component of grant funding will expand beyond programming innovations to improve housing options for medical students. Housing that is located near both the medical campus and amenities in the heart of the city is attractive to medical students and will help students to experience the city in a positive way. BBF funding will enhance shared academic and residential space where students can live and learn with their medical cohorts, according to the release.

In reflecting on the significance of the Ball Brothers Foundation grants, Derron Bishop, Director of the IU School of Medicine-Muncie stated, “During the last academic year, 174 medical students and 64 medical residents spent time training in the Muncie and East Central Indiana region. Each of these individuals represents an opportunity to either return to our community as a practicing physician or to be an ambassador for our training programs and city. These innovative projects will help us to carve out a distinctive niche and make Muncie the state’s premiere training site for primary care physicians and other medical professionals.”

Bishop added, “The long-term impact of this funding means, quite simply, better trained physicians and a healthier community.”

Last year, Ball Brothers Foundation celebrated its 90th anniversary, awarding $7.25 million in grants supporting arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services and public affairs. The Muncie-based private foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in BBF’s home city, county and state.
 

Nonprofits helping with broadband accessibility can seek grants from Spectrum owner Charter

Charter Communications is seeking applicants for its Spectrum Digital Education Grant Program, an initiative designed to support nonprofit organizations that educate people about the benefits of broadband internet service and how to use it to improve their lives.

The one-year grants are supported by an initial $1 million commitment from Charter Communications.

Spectrum Digital Education grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations that have programs focused on families and seniors who have historically been underrepresented in broadband services. To be eligible for a grant, the organization must serve communities in a Spectrum market and must be a U.S. nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status.

Applications and program details are available at responsibility.spectrum.com/digitaledgrant.

Nevada expands school grant program to help poor students – Las Vegas Review

In this July 6, 2016 file photo, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education Steve Canavero speaks to Clark County School District trustees about the Every Student  ...In this Jan. 28, 2016 file photo, Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education Steve Canavero speaks during the State Board of Education meeting at the Nevad ...

A change in a competitive grant program run by the Nevada Department of Education — partially prompted by a change in federal law — means more schools serving the state’s poorest students will have access to outside help.

Last year, five state school districts were awarded grants to work with a single nonprofit in an effort to help low-income students. The grants were focused on using data to improve decision-making, developing stronger teachers and training school officials in leadership.

This year, the department awarded grants funded through the federal Title I program to 11 districts to work with 10 different organizations. The increase was in part the result of the state changing the grant parameters and partly because it took on the responsibility of vetting new nonprofits that can work with districts.

For rural districts in counties like Humboldt, Nye and White Pine, securing one of the federally funded grants is a major coup. Despite being smaller than Clark and Washoe counties, the districts serve a sizable number of poor children.

“This is a first time we were awarded a grant under this program,” Humboldt Superintendent Dave Jensen said. “That’s what I think is incredible for us. That’s a significant amount of money that’s going to make a profound impact on our school over time.”

Jensen was referring to a K-12 school in his district — in Northern Nevada, near the Oregon border — serving 135 students with 15 certified teachers, which took home a $390,000 grant.

The grant will allow the school to contract with Achievement Network and The New Teacher Project, both national nonprofits, to help train teachers to improve the quality of their instruction when working with high-need students.

Deep, rather than wide

More than 70 of the state’s 80 or so Title I schools — those with a high proportion of low-income students — had grants approved by the state.

The majority of the money the state receives from the federal government under Title I goes directly to the schools. But the department must set aside 7 percent — about $8 million this year out of approximately $130 million — for school improvement efforts. The state administers that money through the competitive grant program.

Previously, only five districts took part, and they all worked with WestEd, a San Francisco-based nonprofit.

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal education initiative enacted in 2015, Nevada expanded the grant parameters but required more proof from schools that the grant money would made a difference.

“The department has elected to go deep, rather than thin and wide, on a very few core strategies,” state Superintendent Steve Canavero said.

To help the Title I schools, Nevada vetted 19 different vendors and held a “speed-dating event” to match nonprofits with school districts.

“All of the 80 or so schools that were eligible came in and had an opportunity to meet all these vendors and figure out what made sense for them,” said state Deputy Superintendent Brett Barley.

Ten of the vendors were eventually were approved to work with schools in nine counties and two other local education agencies.

Clark County schools were awarded the bulk of the available grant money, raking in $2.8 million for 47 schools. White Pine was awarded almost $950,000 for three schools. Carson City, Elko, Humboldt, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Washoe, the State Public Charter School Authority and Democracy Prep also received funds.

Influx of providers

In White Pine County, three of the district’s Title I schools will work with Pearson and the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) to help solve an impending problem: a lack of properly prepared principals.

“All of our current principals are homegrown. They’ve come up through the ranks here,” said Superintendent Adam Young, a former high school principal in the district. “Many of them are getting ready to retire, so we want to increase that leadership pipeline.”

The school leadership program will serve as an 18-month executive leadership boot camp for up to 24 employees in the district. Participants will finish the program with about half of the necessary credits to earn a graduate degree in educational leadership — one of the best perks of the program, Young said.

During the state’s speed-dating event, Young’s staff looked at about a dozen organizations that focused on leadership skills and was finally able to find one that fit the district’s needs best.

“We wanted the vendor to be onsite. I wanted my participants to have a tangible outcome,” he said. “NISL was the only one that did all of what I described.”

title1 expanded options nevada dept of education

Meghin Delaney can be reached at 702-383-0281 or mdelaney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

What is ESSA?

The Every Student Succeeds Act was passed in 2015.

The federal law replaced the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act.

Education experts see the ESSA as a more flexible program, as it is intended to return more power to state departments of education.

Charter issues call for grant applicants

STAMFORD, Conn. — Charter Communications is seeking applicants for its Spectrum Digital Education Grant Program, an initiative designed to support nonprofit organizations that educate people about the benefits of broadband internet service and how to use it to improve their lives.

The one-year grants are supported by an initial $1 million commitment from Charter Communications.

Spectrum Digital Education grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations that have programs focused on families and seniors who have historically been underrepresented in broadband services. To be eligible for a grant, the organization must serve communities in a Spectrum market and must be a U.S. nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status.

Applications and program details are available at responsibility.spectrum.com/digitaledgrant.

Local education officials prepare for year-round Pell Grants

Pell Grants will be available to students year-round beginning July 1, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced.

The change in the Federal Pell Grant Program will allow an eligible student to receive up to 150 percent of the student’s award beginning with the 2017-18 year.

Pell Grants since 2008 have been available to students only in the fall and spring semesters. The change in policy will ensure that hundreds of thousands of college students have the resources needed to finish their coursework in a time frame that meets their individual needs, the U.S. secretary of education said in a statement.

The change will go into effect July 1, but the first wave of summertime award recipients won’t be seen until next summer, said Becca Diskin, director of financial aid at Missouri Southern State University. That will give administrators time to prepare for the switch and to promote summer classes to students who otherwise might not enroll in them, she said.

“Next year, a student would be able to go fall, spring and at least half-time in summer and receive a Pell Grant,” she said. “For anybody who is planning on attending in summer, you could accelerate your graduation time, you could retake something you didn’t do well in — it just allows people to get a little ahead of the game.”

Approximately 60 percent of the student body at Crowder College is eligible to receive Pell Grants, said Stephanie Ferguson, director of financial aid at the school. The grants can be used for their educational expenses, including tuition, fees, books, or room and board.

“For the students that receive a Pell Grant, it is a critical component of their financial aid package,” she said. “I think (year-round grants) will be important for them. Right now, a lot of students choose not to come during the summer because they know they won’t have the funds.”

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., lauded the announcement of year-round Pell Grants, for which he helped secure money in the government funding bill for fiscal year 2017.

Blunt said that under the way the Pell program has operated, many full-time students and some part-time students exhaust their full benefit after two semesters. Restoring year-round Pell will help an estimated 1 million students stay enrolled in classes throughout the year, which will lower their student debt and accelerate completion of their degree program, he said.

“Going to school year-round allowed me to become the first person in my family to earn a college degree and to do it in three years,” Blunt said in a statement. “Restoring year-round Pell Grants will help more students stay on track for graduation, enter or re-enter the workforce sooner, and graduate with less debt.”

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, the student must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period and must be enrolled at least half-time. For a student who is eligible for the additional funds, the institution must pay the student all of the student’s eligible Pell Grant funds, up to 150 percent of the student’s Pell Grant Scheduled Award for the award year.

Nation’s land-grant universities are source of education, ag evolution

Published Saturday, Jun. 24, 2017, 7:27 pm

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Past and recent agricultural graduates of Virginia State University and Virginia Tech have participated in a long-celebrated partnership between U.S. land-grant universities and agriculture.

newspaperLand-grant schools were established by Congress via the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The acts granted federally controlled land to states to sell to establish colleges that would teach agriculture, military science and engineering in addition to traditional classical studies. Most land-grant colleges became large public universities, and many are still known for their agricultural roots.

“Land-grant universities, in association with agricultural research and cooperative extension, are the foundation to everything done on the farm,” said Robert Harper, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation grain manager, former Virginia Cooperative Extension agent and a Virginia Tech alumnus. “More than 150 years of research has led to every development in agriculture.”

Justin Smith Morrill, the U.S. representative and senator who authored both Morrill Acts, intended the land-grant colleges to educate working-class Americans in practical subjects. The second Morrill Act prohibited racial discrimination in admissions for colleges receiving the federal funds and led to the establishment of land-grant institutions for African Americans.

The colleges added a research function in 1887 through the Hatch Act, which recognized the need for original research to help develop agricultural innovations. In 1914, land-grant universities’ outreach mission was expanded to include the practice of sending agents into rural areas to share research results. In 1994, land-grants were given to colleges of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

Virginia Tech was formed as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872 and received funding under the 1862 Morrill Act. VSU was founded in 1882 and chartered as the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. The school received land-grant status in 1920.

Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, dean of VSU’s College of Agriculture, said he believes the land-grant university is and always will be the “soul of the public higher education system in America.” He counted among VSU’s agricultural strengths its alternative, innovative crop research and small farmer outreach programs. The College of Agriculture also has a large aquaculture program and is a Virginia leader in the fields of urban and sustainable agriculture and small ruminants like goats and sheep.

In order to stay relevant and best serve students and meet the land-grant mission “we need to get students interested in STEM subjects, because agriculture is no longer a singular issue,” McKinnie said.

That sentiment was echoed by Dr. Alan Grant, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

CALS students have the opportunity to launch futures as animal scientists, crop geneticists, dietitians, entomologists, landscapers and more.

“That’s the advantage of a land-grant university,” Grant said. “I like to call it a comprehensive university. … It’s no longer just agriculture and engineering; Virginia Tech is composed of multiple colleges, including a strong liberal arts program. When you consider the challenges in all industries, we need engineers and ag scientists and political scientists all working together to solve problems related to issues like land use and water quality.”

The CALS still offers traditional agriculture-related majors, like its two-year Agriculture Technology Program and its dairy and animal and poultry science degrees, but the growth of programs outside of production agriculture “has helped us gain visibility and has increased our impact,” Grant noted.