College representatives meet with Texas A&M AgriLife officials

Email this article 02/24/2012

Representatives from Southwest Texas Junior College and Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College met with officials of Texas A&M AgriLife in Uvalde on Feb. 15 to discuss ways to improve partnerships between the three groups.

"I want to commend Dr. Daniel Leskovar for getting this group together," SWTJC Dean of Institutional Advancement and Technology Dr. Blaine Bennett said. "Finding ways to strengthen our relationships to better serve our students and constituents is definitely something worth working on."

Leskovar, director for the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, was the moderator of a roundtable discussion. Special guests were Dr. Ron Lacewell, assistant vice chancellor for federal relations Texas A&M AgriLife, and Dr. Neville P. Clarke, special assistant to the vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife.

Representing Sul Ross State University – Rio Grande College was Dr. Paul Sorrells, associate provost/dean.

In addition to Bennett, SWTJC was represented by Hector Gonzales, dean of instructional services and chief financial officer. Robert Zaiglin and Steven Evans, wildlife management instructors at SWTJC, were also part of the discussion, along with various members of the staff of Uvalde's Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center.

"As funding sources continue to dwindle, it will be essential that we work together if we want to expand services and options to our students," Bennett said.

Some of the topics discussed included capitalizing on opportunities associated with the Eagle Ford Shale play in southwest Texas, working together on grant proposals, expanding student internship opportunities at the Uvalde center, finding ways to attract more students to ag-related sciences, developing integrated short courses covering agriculture and water issues, and involving Rio Grande College and SWTJC students in the seminar series offered through the Texas A&M AgriLife Center.

"You've come up with some great ideas today, but I encourage you to not get lost trying to do too much, too fast," Dr. Clarke said at the conclusion of the recent meeting.

The group will meet again in March to continue their discussions.

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