By Jeff Murphy, February 12, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO – An organization that is instrumental in seeking federal support for research and other opportunities at non-land-grant institutions, including the University of Central Missouri, has UCM campus representation at the top level following the appointment of Fanson Kidwaro to its Board of Directors. He will be meeting with the group in March.
Kidwaro is serving a two-year term on the Non-land-grant Agricultural and Renewable Resources Universities Board as the result of an appointment announced in October 2015 when the association conducted its annual meeting in Kansas City. The UCM professor and chair of the Department of Biology and Agriculture since 2011 is serving as a board member at-large, having duties that include assisting the executive board with running the organization in collaboration with the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU). He will be attending the joint meeting of NARRU and APLU March 8-11 in Alexandria, Va., where activities will include a workshop on faculty and student diversity, discussion about America’s agriculture future, updates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and more.
UCM has been a member of NARRU for 20 years, and as department chair, Kidwaro represents the university within the association. Other members include department chairs, deans, associate deans from NARRU member organizations across the United States.
“The purpose of our organization is to be a forum and unifying force for all faculty, students, staff and administrators of agriculture, food, and renewable resource programs at NARRU state-funded public colleges and universities,” Kidwaro noted. “Collectively, we value and promote our excellence in science-based teaching with hands-on experience in conducting responsive and issue-based research, and in communicating findings to our stakeholders and the general public.”
He said part of the NARRU board works with its membership in lobbying congressional representatives to support research funding for NARRU institutions.
“The great news this year is that USDA recently announced $4 million in awards for non-land-grant colleges and universities funding for 2016. These funds support various research projects across these institutions,” Kidwaro said.
“The appointment will put me closer to the decision-making body when it comes to grants and projects from NARRU institutions across the U.S.,” he added. “It is going to be beneficial for our students and faculty since I will be able to bring to them high-demand topics in agriculture research so we can participate in applying for these grants. My faculty is already thinking about how they can put projects together to apply for the $4 million now available for NARRU institutions. These grants will benefit both faculty and students.”
He noted that UCM is currently participating in a consortium grant from the National
Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) with four other regional universities – Missouri
State, Truman State, Northwest Missouri State, and Southeast Missouri State. Their
efforts are geared toward making agriculture courses available online for Missouri
According to its website, NARRU provides a vehicle for sharing ideas and exploring avenues to help solve common problems and explore opportunities which will lead to strengthening the instructional, research, and service programs or agriculture, renewable natural resources, and related programs. It also helps foster their association, recognition, and support by the public. Learn more about NARRU online at aplu.org.
Kidwaro joined UCM in 1999 as a full-time temporary instructor and has climbed the faculty ranks to be a full professor and department chair.