The plan integrates two departments in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Plant Pathology and Crop and Soil Sciences.
MSU merges two College of Agriculture and Natural Resources departments
The MSU Board of Trustees approved a plan to integrate two departments in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR): Plant Pathology and Crop and Soil Sciences. This integration was effective July 1.
“This realignment will increase the focus on strategic platforms and is consistent with the strategic vision for plant and soil sciences at MSU,” said Doug Buhler, interim CANR dean. The realignment is expected to improve overall productivity and administrative efficiency of the merged units, he said. The new department name, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, has been supported by the faculty members of both current departments and accurately describes the breadth of activities across the three missions of research, teaching and extension/outreach, Buhler said.
Jim Kells, former chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, will serve as the interim chair of the merged department, and Ray Hammerschmidt, former chair of the Department of Plant Pathology, will serve as interim associate chair.
“Faculty members in the two units already regularly collaborate on numerous research and extension/outreach projects, and the scientific disciplines represented by the two departments are closely aligned,” Kells explained. “The unit will be very strong, which will enhance the national reputation of the department, college and university.”
Hammerschmidt agreed and said the new department will be attractive to both prospective faculty members and graduate students.
“The merger will further strengthen the capacity of faculty teams to work on major interdisciplinary problems,” he said.
Faculty members will remain in their respective buildings across campus. The department will offer one undergraduate degree program – crop and soil sciences – and two graduate programs: plant pathology and crop and soil sciences.
The main office for the new department will be located in room A286 of the Plant and Soil Sciences Building, and the main telephone number will be 517-355-0271. An auxiliary office for the new department will be in 107 Center for Integrated Plant Systems (CIPS. Samples for the Soil Testing Lab should still be sent to room A81 Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg., and samples for Diagnostic Services should still be sent to 107 CIPS.