Nutritional Sciences department head excited for opportunity to enhance human health through research, teaching
- What attracted you to FACS and UGA?
The department has a strong reputation for cutting-edge research, transformative education and impactful outreach. The previous department head, Lynn Bailey, did an outstanding job of recruiting and retaining faculty, so the department is very strong. The faculty are exploring critical research questions in the field of nutritional sciences across the translational spectrum from basic to public health research. The faculty also are national leaders in training the next generation of nutritional scientists, and the critical work in Extension and outreach is positively impacting the health of many Georgians. It was the right time in my career to tackle the next challenge. The leadership opportunity in Nutritional Sciences was very appealing because I was aware of all the important work being done here.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals or priorities for the department and college?
My short-term goals are two-fold: first, establish effective lines of communication with the faculty, staff and students to foster open communication and respectful discussions; and second, understand departmental, college and university policies to support students and student learning; faculty research, teaching, service and outreach responsibilities; and staff needs and their professional development.
My long-terms goals are to support and grow our undergraduate and graduate program to train the next generation of nutritional sciences professionals who have the core competencies and critical thinking skills to do impactful work in our field; facilitate excellence in teaching and research by recruiting and retaining productive, collaborative faculty and staff, and by building synergies among faculty within the department and college, and between our faculty and other units across campus; and expand our work with Cooperative Extension to translate and apply research findings to improve health and well-being of the population. I want to focus on all of the above with the awareness, attention, and priority to increase diversity and inclusion in the department.
- What are you most excited about in your new role?
Improved nutrition is one of the most important strategies to enhance human health. I am excited to work with our students, faculty and staff to help guide our department’s efforts in learning, discovery and engagement to address this important societal question.