Published on 08/05/16

Annual UGA tour stops at UGA Tifton

By Clint Thompson

Thirty-six faculty members from the University of Georgia visited the Future Farmstead energy efficient house, learned about irrigation and peanut genetics, and fed calves during their stop at the UGA Tifton Campus as part of the 2016 New Faculty Tour.

Seven of the 36 new faculty on the annual tour are from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). For the others the stop in Tifton provided an introduction to the importance of agriculture to the Georgia economy.

“Most of the people that the University of Georgia hires are not from Georgia,” said Joe West, assistant dean at UGA Tifton. “This is an opportunity for new faculty at the University of Georgia to become more intimately acquainted with their new home state. You get to see things that, on your own, you might never get to see.”

West was on the New Faculty Tour in 1987.

The Tifton campus is a popular destination for the new faculty, who especially enjoyed campus’s calves, one 16- weeks and the other 4-weeks-old.

Lucy Harrison, the assistant vice chancellor for Academic Library Services and executive director of GALILEO, took a turn holding the large bottle to feed one of the calves.

“You saw me step up,” Harrison said. “That cow has got some power.”

The group's first stop in Tifton was at the Future Farmstead, where it learned about energy efficiency from Craig Kvien, professor in the crop and soils department. They also met with Wes Porter, an irrigation specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension in Tifton, to learn about water resource management. Corley Holbrook, supervisory research geneticist and Peggy Ozias-Akins, a molecular geneticist, talked about how their work helps to improve yields of peanuts.

While agriculture was the focal point of Thursday’s visit to Tifton, the new faculty members visited Amicalola State Park in Dawsonville, the Georgia State Capitol and and National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. in West Point, and Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs. Following the stop in Tifton, the group traveled to the CSX Rice Yard in Waycross and UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant facilities in Savannah. The trip concluded Friday with a walking tour of historic Savannah and a tour of the Georgia Ports Authority in Garden City.

“Not being a Georgia native, I’ve learned a lot about Georgia and what it has to offer,” said Jennifer Tucker, assistant professor of animal and dairy science in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences CAES). “I have learned a lot of interesting things and have seen some areas that I would like to go back and visit at some point.”

For Drew Benson, a poultry scientist in CAES, being able to meet and get to know other faculty was a huge benefit this week.

“I’ve been at the university since January and this is the most interaction I’ve had with any faculty,” Benson said. “I’ve met some people who share similar research interests that I didn’t know before. That’s been good.”

The New Faculty Tour was launched in 1977. More than 1,400 UGA faculty members have made the tour, which has been held all but seven years since it first began. Those years—1991, 2003-2004, and 2009-2012—tours were cancelled because of budget constraints.

The New Faculty Tour is coordinated by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach and is made possible by major support from the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. It also receives support from the UGA Alumni Association as well as numerous other units and supporters of the university.

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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