Sept. 20, 2012
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Ryan Toth

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Purdue senior Ryan Toth says slack lining is a great activity to improve balance. All you need is a rope 2 inches wide and two very strong trees. He has a 100-foot-long rope and found a pair of suitable trees near the horticulture building recently. Toth, a senior from Valparaiso, Ind., says slack lining is similar to, but much less dangerous than, tightrope walking. After all, he’s just a few feet off the ground. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

Mintert appointed Extension interim director



Jim Mintert, BS ’78, MS ’82, has been appointed interim associate dean and director of Purdue Extension.

Mintert will assume his new role on Sept. 27.

“Jim will serve in this interim role until we hire a permanent associate dean and director to replace Chuck Hibberd,” said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture.

“Jim coordinated Purdue Extension’s response to the 2012 drought, an effort that has been both important to our state and well received by our stakeholders,” Akridge said.

Akridge has appointed a search committee to find a replacement for Hibbard, who is leaving Purdue Extension in October to take a similar position at the University of Nebraska, effective Oct. 1.

Mintert has served as assistant director of agriculture and natural resources for Purdue Extension since 2009. Before joining Purdue, Mintert spent 23 years at Kansas State University as professor and Extension state leader for agricultural economics. He earned his PhD from the University of Missouri and is the author of more than 200 publications on the economics of the livestock industry.

Freshman, grad student enrollment up

Enrollment in the Purdue University College of Agriculture increased slightly for the 2012-13 academic year, led by higher numbers of freshmen and graduate students.

Figures released by the university show a college enrollment of 3,289, compared with 3,283 last year. Agriculture students represent 8.4 percent of the 39,256 students enrolled at Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

"Enrollments across agriculture and related majors remains strong, and interest continues to grow as evidenced by the size of the incoming class," said Marcos Fernandez, associate dean and director of academic programs.

Freshman enrollment is 499, up 3.3 percent from last fall's incoming class. Graduate student enrollment grew from 596 to 631 in that same period.

Eighty percent of Purdue's agriculture students are from Indiana.

"This is an exciting time for students coming into agriculture because the opportunities that are out there for them continue to expand," Fernandez said. "Students come to Purdue to prepare for careers that touch the breadth and diversity of agriculture.

Bindley Center names Irudayaraj deputy director



Coming Thursday, Sept. 27:

Kendra Lancaster, BS'10, went to the Paralympic Games in London this summer looking to improve on the silver (Beijing 2008) and bronze (Athens 2004) medals she won as a member of the U.S. sitting volleyball team. The next edition of ConnectionsNow! will revisit Lancaster, the U.S. team captain. Lancaster is a world-class athlete who is putting the finishing touches on her master's degree in youth development and agricultural education.

Joseph Irudayaraj has been appointed deputy director of the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue.

A professor of agricultural and biological engineering, Irudayaraj is responsible for creating and maintaining a high level of collegiality between faculty, staff and students at the center, said Richard J. Kuhn, the director of the center. Irudayaraj will also assist in the day-to-day leadership of the center.

Irudayaraj’s research interests focuses on bionanotechnology techniques that allow for multiplex mechanistic sensing and quantification of molecular markers, genetic material, DNA modifications, and drug localization in biological systems.

Irudayaraj also is a co-director of the Physiological Sensing Facility and a member of the Biophysics Core at Bindley Bioscience Center.

He has and has co-authored 200 publications and is a member of the Biophysical Society, Biological Engineering and American Chemical Society.

Before coming to Purdue in 2005, Irudayaraj was an associate professor at The Pennsylvania State University, a visiting faculty at the School of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University, and an assistant professor at Utah State University.



Dooley heading trimester project

Frank Dooley, professor of agricultural economics, has been appointed associate vice provost of undergraduate academic affairs.

The position was created over the summer to further implement a balanced trimester system. Dooley will retain his academic appointment within the Department of Agricultural Economics.

"Dr. Dooley has been working on the trimester initiative since the beginning, and we're excited to have him leading it. He's the right person for the job," said Dale Whittaker, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs.

Whittaker said the university is considering an eight-year plan in transitioning to offering more academic programs in the summer months.

In his new role, Dooley will lead campuswide discussions and inquiries into the wide-ranging effects of switching to trimesters.

Dooley has won nearly 20 awards for outstanding teaching, research and advising. He served as a provost fellow at Purdue in 2011-12, focusing on the IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) program. In 2002, he was selected as a faculty fellow in Purdue's Teaching Academy.

A faculty member since 1998, Dooley is the 2009 recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. In 2011, Dooley was named the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher in 2011.

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