College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Strategic Plan 2012-2017 (PDF | 163KB)

Our Vision
The Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech strives for pre-eminence in
teaching, research, extension, and outreach to provide sustainable ecosystem management and
improved environmental quality.  We integrate sciences to deliver comprehensive solutions to the
agricultural and environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.
Our Mission
We will meet the land-grant mission of Virginia Tech by improving crop plants, enhancing
practices in crop production and land use, and increasing knowledge about human impacts on the
environment through education, research, and outreach.
Our Values
We value and reward excellence, integrity, respect, collegiality, effective communication, and
stewardship. These values are essential to meet the land grant university’s commitment to the
Commonwealth, the nation, and the global community.


I.    Academic Programs
We are committed to high quality, relevant, and cutting-edge academic programs

A.   Undergraduate (Primary responsibility: Undergraduate Programs committee, Dept. Head)

  • Goal 1  Strengthen undergraduate programs, making us one of the preeminent departments of our kind
    •     Rename the CSES degree and re-organize/introduce new options in both degrees by December 2012
    •     Complete internal review of course offerings and new course development by December 2012
    •     Complete first survey of employers and graduates by August 2013
    •     Implement formal assessments for both undergraduate majors by Fall 2012
    •     90% of our undergraduates taking professional certification exams will pass
    •     Initiate peer reviews of teaching in Fall 2012

Goal 2  Increase the size of our undergraduate programs
•     Teach 550 undergraduate SCH/teaching faculty FTE by 2017 (465/FTE in 2011)
•     Increase enrollment in the ENSC major to 225 by Fall 2017 (150 in Spring 2012)
•     Increase enrollment in the CSES major to 75 by Fall 2017 (65 in Spring 2012)
•     Award 60 B.S. degrees/year by 2017 (2007-2011, average of 41 B.S. degrees/year)
•     Increase enrollments in ENSC 1015/1115 and 1016/1116 to 100 by fall 2012 and 150 in fall 2013
enrolled in 1016 during Spring 2012)

Goal 3  Increase support for undergraduates
•     20% of CSES/ENSC students with summer internships by 2017
•     10% of CSES/ENSC students participating in research activities by Fall 2013
•     One study abroad opportunity per year beginning with summer 2014
•     2017 scholarship goal: $50,000 in undergraduate scholarships. 2011: $25,000/yr
•     Initiate a “scholars” program for high-achieving students by fall 2013

B.  Graduate (Primary responsibility: Graduate Programs committee, Dept. Head)

Goal 1  Increase graduate student enrollment
•     Teach 200 graduate SCH/teaching faculty FTE by 2017 (129/FTE in 2011)
•     Enrollment goal, Fall 2017: ≥25 Ph.D., ≥35 M.S., and ≥15 MALS. (Fall 2011 enrollment is 12
Ph.D., 25
M.S., and 8 MALS)
•     Increase GTA’s from 5.75 to 7.50 (Currently based on CALS FTE x hours metrics)
•     Graduate student enrollment in M.S. and Ph.D. programs should be at least 2.6/faculty FTE by
2017 (1.9/FTE in 2012)

Goal 2  Ensure the quality and rigor of CSES graduate programs
•     Complete a critical evaluation of CSES and MALS (ENSC) graduate course offerings by fall 2012
•     A distinguished speaker series will begin no later than Fall 2012
•     A graduate student ‘tracking system’ will be in place by Fall 2012
•     2017 goals: 1.0 presentations and 0.5 refereed journal articles/year by M.S./Ph.D. graduate

Goal 3  Increase support of graduate students
•     2017 goal:  Award $10,000 in scholarships annually to graduate students (2011: $3,500)
•     Provide $15,000 annually by 2017 to support graduate student travel
•     Improve all graduate student facilities in Smyth Hall by the end of 2017

II.   Research (Primary responsibility: Dept. Head, Facilities Committee, Faculty)
We are committed to conducting relevant and cutting-edge research supported by extramural funds

Goal 1  Increase sponsored research and royalties from cultivar release
•     FY 2008 – 2011 Sponsored Awards $3.48 million/yr. FY 2017 goal: $5.0 million. The CSES goal
is to always be among the top three departments in CALS in research awards and expenditures.
•     FY 2012-2017 goal of $200,000/yr in royalties (FY 2011: $207,000)

Goal 2  Increase number of refereed publications and presentations by CSES faculty

CSES Strategic Plan, 2012 – 2017                                    

•     2017 goal of 2.5 refereed publications/faculty FTE/year (2011: 1.9/FTE)

Goal 3  Improve facilities in Smyth Hall and maximize efficiency of space usage
•     Complete renovations of Smyth 350 and 351A by the end of 2012. Set next priorities for lab
renovations by the end of 2012.
•     Complete renovation of Smyth 337 by the end of 2012
•     Re-label laboratories in Smyth by the end of 2012
•     Facilities Committee will review lab space allocation during 2012 and every two years

Goal 4  Ensure that the Agronomy Farm and NPAREC contribute successfully to CSES research programs
•     Complete targeted improvements at the Agronomy Farm by the end of 2013: Paint doors to
improve appearance, improve air flow and circulation through buildings, Improve equipment storage
through clearing space or adding more
•     Implement new name and land use changes at NPAREC by August 2012

III. Extension (Primary responsibility: Extension Programs committee, Dept. Head)

We will generate and deliver current information concerning crop, soil, and environmental sciences
to promote sustainable land and water resource management

Goal 1  ANR agents will receive the education necessary to enable them to deliver high quality,
impactful programs
•     By 2017, 75% of ANR County Agents and 90% of recent hires with crops and soils, environment
and natural resources, and lawn and garden topical areas will participate in 1 classroom and 1
field service training program each year
•     16 extension publications in need of revision will be updated by spring 2013, and needed
publications will be identified by the end of 2012 for future development

Goal 2  Our clientele will be educated in a manner and have access to the latest information that
will stimulate them to implement scientifically cutting-edge practices
•     CSES Specialists will give 76 workshop/conference and 71 field day presentations/year
•     The number and amount of extension grants will increase by 5% annually. 2017 target: 73
grants with $700,000 for extension activities
•     Website hits will increase by at least 5% each year. 2017 target: 14,500
•     The number of social media followers will increase each year. 2017 target: 534

Goal 3  CSES extension programs will be renowned statewide/nationally/internationally
•     At least one extension news article will be written and included in each departmental

Goal 4  Service to industry, state and regional organizations will maintain and enhance essential
linkages with external stakeholders
•     There will be an increase in the service by extension specialists to regulatory technical
committees and industry leadership boards. 2011 – 40; 2017 target - 42
•     Soil test methods and recommendations will be revised as new scientific knowledge is

IV. Communications, Marketing, and Outreach
(Primary responsibility:  Communications, Marketing, and Recruiting committee, Dept. Head)

Goal 1  Increase the visibility of CSES
•     Participate in all university and/or college-sponsored recruiting/information exchange events
•     Develop a student recruiting strategy
•     Create scholarship incentives for CSES/ENSC students who serve as CALS Ambassadors
•     At least one student from CSES and ENSC will serve as Ag Ambassadors each year

Goal 2  Develop and deliver current recruiting information in print and electronically

•   Complete graduate program flyers by July 2012
•   Complete video clips of students and faculty for CSES webpage by Dec. 2012. Upload to website
•   Complete a short PowerPoint presentation with photos of students and student activities that
visually ‘describe’ our majors, options, and/or graduate programs by Dec. 2012.
•   Design and develop banners containing pertinent pictures and text describing MS and PhD
programs by August 2012
Goal 3  Ensure effective communication within and outside the department
•     Publish the first CSES quarterly newsletter in June 2012
Goal 4  Engage our alumni, emeriti, and supporters in the present and future of our department
•     Host an annual breakfast for emeritus faculty, beginning fall 2012
•     Create a CSES Advisory Committee with 6-8 members, no later than January 2013