Wednesday began with a meeting in the administration building.  I was supposed to have lunch with my good friend Kathy VanLaningham in the Provost’s office, but we got our wires crossed and the meeting ran late, so I didn’t get to see her.  I did, however, get to visit with Greg Weidemann, dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.  Remember bloggies, it’s my goal to get over to visit with each of my fellow deans and hear their challenges and visions for their unit.  I’m trying to complete all the visits by the end of the fiscal year.

My visit with Dean Weidemann was a good one.  We talked about things we might work on together, about the challenges in his unit, about the history of administration in his college and the fact that he oversees five physical buildings on campus, plus a number of off campus sites.  I guess I didn’t realize the breadth of his responsibilities.  His departments include: Agricultural and Extension Education; Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness; Animal Science, Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences; Entomology; Food Science; Horticulture; Plant Pathology and Poultry Science.  He also oversees the School of Human Environmental Sciences which includes Apparel Studies; Interior Design; Human Development and Family Sciences; General HESC and Food, Nutrition and Hospitality.  He mentioned that one of the fastest growing areas in his school is fashion design.  He also said that, over the past three years, the largest increase in undergraduate enrollment within his college has been in the departments of Poultry Science and Food, Human Nutrition and Hospitality.  I really enjoyed the visit with him and getting to know him a little bit better.  Thanks to Fred White for the suggestion of meeting with the Deans from other schools.  It has been an enjoyable learning experience.

That evening was the Career Leadership Program for the Peace at Home Family Shelter at Garylord’s Café.  It was graduation day for women who, though they had come to the shelter under very adverse circumstances, had completed life skill training as well as job search and skills training.  Each of them received a computer after graduation and many had family members there to celebrate with them.  I was the keynote speaker at their dinner and gave each graduate a little gift to show how very proud I was of them.  The thrust of my talk was about the word “momentum.”  I focused on the idea that they had now gained momentum, which they should use to move forward.  I told them that they were on their way to better lives and emphasized how proud all of us there that evening were of them.  It was a very moving event and an honor for me to be there.  After that Hope and I drove to Russellville to get a start on the trip to the Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference in Hot Springs.