News and Updates

College Creates New Climate Council

The newly created College Climate Council aims to improve the working and learning atmosphere for all employees and students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Council was established to provide a new dimension of ensuring a supportive and inclusive climate for all to work, learn, and succeed.

Made up of department heads, faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students, the council will advise the dean in the following ways:

  • Increase the visibility of climate and diversity in the College
  • Provide insight and opinion on the current climate in the College
  • Help in the development of policies and initiatives in the College related to climate and diversity.

“To become familiar with the University’s current initiatives related to diversity, respect and inclusion, council members attended the Texas A&M Climate Matters Conference earlier this month as their first assignment,” Dr. Alan Sams, executive associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said.

The Council will meet several times throughout the year to provide both individual perspectives and group recommendations as representatives of the entire College. Council members represent many aspects of the organization and include:

  • David Caldwell, Department Head, Poultry Science
  • Leann Chmelar, Administrative Assistant, Soil and Crop Sciences
  • Chanda Elbert, Associate Professor, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication
  • Dustin Grabsch, Program Coordinator, Dean’s Office
  • Trina Gregory, Academic Advisor, Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Luis Hurtado, Associate Professor, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
  • Nancy Ing, Professor, Animal Science
  • Kathleen Kavanagh, Department Head, Ecosystem Science and Management
  • David Mattarita, Associate Professor, Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences
  • Vicky Salin, Professor, Agricultural Economics
  • Cherish Vance, Graduate Student, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • Lorenzo Washington, Undergraduate Student, Bioenvironmental Sciences
Apr2015_ClimateCouncil

Climate Council members, from left to right: Dr. Alan Sams, Mr. Lorenzo Washington, Dr. Vicky Salin, Dr. Luis Hurtardo, Dr. Chanda Elbert, Ms. Cherish Vance, Dr. David Mattarita, Ms. Trina Gregory, Ms. Leann Chmelar, Dr. Katy Kavanagh, and Dr. David Caldwell. Not pictured: Dr. Nancy Ing, Mr. Dustin Grabsch, and Ms. Julie Wilson.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Climate Council is a segment of Texas A&M University’s overall initiative to strengthen, sustain, and promote diversity efforts. In 2010, the university embarked on an ambitious diversity plan to enhance accountability, climate, and equity. Since then, the university as seen an increase in numbers of Black and Hispanic undergraduate student applications, the creation of the ADVANCE Center, and demonstrable progress by more than 15 units across campus.

“The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has made an emphasis on diversity one of its top priorities,” Dr. Sams continued. “As a College, we are making great strides in our diversity efforts and are achieving great results in comparison to our peers across the country. These efforts not only make this a more welcoming and professionally supportive environment, but also make us a more productive organization as a result.”

Research shows that diverse working and learning environments lead to a more holistic experience for both employees and students.

“Just about every learning and problem solving situation is improved by having a variety of perspectives,” Dr. Sams said. “The College seeks to be inclusive and supportive of all its people while also drawing on their many perspectives in our learning, educational, research, professional and community environment.”

[By Angel Futrell via College of Agriculture and Life Sciences]

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