Glenda Gillaspy is the new dean of the University of Wisconsin-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in Madison. She assumed her position Aug. 4, serving because the college’s chief educational and government officer.
“I was drawn to the institution for its stellar reputation in research and education,” she mentioned. “I was impressed with the ‘Wisconsin Idea.’ It’s service-focused; that was a definite draw.”
She was certainly one of a number of candidates for the dean place, recognized by a search and display committee of 16 people. The committee was composed of professors from a number of departments of the agriculture college, in addition to a pupil consultant and others.
“She demonstrated many strengths during the interview process that will benefit the college and UW-Madison,” mentioned Troy Runge, the committee’s chairman who’s a professor and division chair of organic programs engineering at UW-Madison. “What stood out to me was her leadership style. It was evident through her examples that she’s able to integrate many voices and factors into her decision-making.”
Provost John Karl Scholz in May introduced Gillaspy because the new dean after interviews with the candidate finalists.
“Her leadership, scholarship and dedication to students will ensure that the college continues to excel,” he mentioned.
The UW-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is comprised of 255 school members and greater than 850 workers members. According to the college, it enrolls about 2,800 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate college students.
Gillaspy served as head of the biochemistry division at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Like UW, Virginia Tech is a public land-grant analysis college. Catherine Freed is a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech who labored as a graduate pupil with Gillaspy.
“When Glenda was the department head of biochemistry, she’d look at seemingly unsolvable problems or difficult situations – and develop creatively feasible solutions,” Freed mentioned. “Situations with multiple unknowns, regardless of departmental or research setting, don’t scare her. She has worked tirelessly to take care of her employees and research program as well as everyone in the department. Her dedication to her work and encouragement to those in the department is contagious.”
Asked if there are similarities between UW-Madison and Virginia Tech, Gillaspy mentioned, “Both have nice down-to-earth people – no pun intended – who also have a sense of service and passion. And I was amazed at the number of people at Virginia Tech who said they spent time at UW as undergrads, graduate students or post-docs.”
She had visited the UW-Madison campus a couple of years in the past whereas attending a convention about Arabidopsis, the plant generally used as a mannequin for researchers. She was skilled as a biochemist after which grew to become a plant scientist in her post-doctoral fellowship. She’s targeted her analysis on plant-signaling pathways. The inositol pyrophosphate molecule, she mentioned, is concerned within the signaling language of crops.
People are additionally studying…
“It’s the most important ‘word’ in the plant’s signaling language for sensing phosphate, the bioactive form of phosphorus,” she mentioned. “My lab worked out how plants synthesize inositol pyrophosphates, which we hope will be useful to address important agricultural challenges.”
The world provide of phosphorus is proscribed plus most phosphorus added to crops isn’t taken up and utilized by crops. That can contribute to phosphate air pollution and subsequent progress of algae in waterways, she mentioned.
“One member of my lab group designed a potential solution in the form of plants designed to take up excess phosphate, which can then be recycled into a novel fertilizer called biochar,” she mentioned. “It’s exciting that this research could have an important impact for Wisconsin.”
Parts of her analysis can be coming to UW, reminiscent of utilized analysis to extend use effectivity and phytoremediation of phosphate, she mentioned.
“The work will take place in space graciously offered by the biochemistry department,” she mentioned. “For me this will be a nice way to stay engaged in our research mission, but in a limited fashion because being a dean is a big job.”
Runge mentioned, “Her background in basic science of biochemistry certainly fits in with the college. I think the screening committee also valued her enthusiasm for research in the more-applied agricultural and natural-resources fields.”
Gillaspy mentioned she’s excited concerning the new federally funded plant-germplasm facility deliberate for UW-Madison.
“It’s really needed and will be a boon to UW’s plant-science efforts,” she mentioned.
She mentioned she’s trying ahead to assembly and speaking with division heads and stakeholders, and studying extra concerning the college. She’s impressed by the departments and want to see the college talk extra with Wisconsin’s residents about their work.
Runge mentioned, “Reaching out to stakeholders early and often is consistent with her leadership style. The college serves a diverse set of stakeholders, both internally and externally. Her plans to meet quickly with both reflects her understanding of the opportunities we have as a college.
“She’ll be meeting with department chairs like me in her first weeks to talk about teaching and research on campus. She also has scheduled a visit to a local farm where she’ll meet with members of the (UW-)Dairy Innovation Hub community to discuss challenges and opportunities for the dairy industry. That balanced approach and immediate engagement of both internal and external stakeholders speaks volumes about our new leader.”
Visit cals.wisc.edu for extra info.
This is an unique article written for Agri-View, a Lee Enterprises agricultural publication primarily based in Madison, Wisconsin. Visit AgriView.com for extra info.
Lynn Grooms writes concerning the variety of agriculture, together with the trade’s latest concepts, analysis and applied sciences as a workers reporter for Agri-View primarily based in Wisconsin.