As another semester comes to an end, and another calendar year turns, I continue to be grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the students, staff and faculty of AEDE. Reflecting on the changes in AEDE over the past year I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the holes created in our faculty with the retirements of Dr. Carl Zulauf, Dr. Doug Southgate and Dr. Cam Thraen—all of whom started their careers at Ohio State within a year of each other in 1980-81. With over 100 years of service to AEDE between them it will be impossible to replace the breadth and depth of knowledge Drs. Zulauf, Southgate and Thraen brought to AEDE in their time here; and it would be futile to try. But as the turn of a new year always reminds us, time marches on, and new opportunities arise.
Over the coming months the AEDE faculty will be interviewing candidates for four new faculty positions. Hiring four new faculty members at once is a challenge the faculty does not take lightly; hiring this cohort could determine the direction of AEDE for the next generation of students. You can take a look at our website for details on each of the four positions we have advertised:
- Sustainable Food and Farm Policy,
- Sustainable Development and Economy, and
- Global Economic Modeling.
The position in Agribusiness bolsters our programs in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics. The position in Sustainable Food and Farm policy is the first of three positions (along with Global Economic Modeling and Sustainable Development and Economy) partially funded through the University-wide Discovery Themes Initiative. Complementary to our strengths in agriculture, the Sustainable Food and Farm Policy position will provide teaching and research expertise on policies at the intersection of food, farming and sustainability. Similarly, the Sustainable Development and Economy position will provide teaching and research expertise at the intersection of economics, development and sustainability. The Global Economic Modeling position will provide a teaching and research skill set in the rapidly growing application of large-scale, computer-intensive models to global economic issues.
At times of change, such as this, it is normal to wonder: What will AEDE be in the future? I have a simple answer to that: we will be a collection of the best faculty and staff we can hire, committed to generating and disseminating new knowledge in applied economics. I am a firm believer that our hiring should dictate the direction of our programs, rather than our programs dictating the direction of our hiring. A defining characteristic of any high quality program is the continual hiring of high quality people and letting those people do what they do best. I believe we have the finest faculty and staff around and they are committed to providing the highest quality knowledge and service to our students.
As Department Chair, I have the opportunity to serve an outstanding group of faculty and staff; watch as they change the way others think; challenge others to examine their preconceived notions; cause others to grow in their confidence and their knowledge. If you have the opportunity this holiday season, I encourage you to join me in thanking our dedicated faculty and staff for their commitment to the betterment of society through education.
I wish you and your family the best this holiday season and Happy New Year.