October 23, 2018
In August, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a plan to move two crucial bi-partisan—and independent—research-related agencies out of Washington, D.C., and restructure them as smaller subsidiaries of the Office of the Chief Economist. It was an announcement that bewildered many USDA observers—and even the agencies’ approximately 690 employees, some of whom were made aware of the news as we were reporting it. At the time, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the department planned to move the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which is responsible for funding agriculture research at land-grant universities, and the Economic Research Service (ERS), which publishes non-partisan research reports on trends in food and agriculture, out of the nation’s capital to save money on payroll and rent, move researchers closer to the agricultural community, and improve ERS’s poor job retention rate.
October 11, 2018
California State University, Fresno was one of eight universities nationwide awarded a grant by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities to support student success through community partnerships. The $50,000 award will support expanding a partnership between the University, Fresno Unified School District and the State Center Community College District to build student success in mathematics along the educational pipeline. The grants, known as collaborative opportunity grants, are supported with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will support the eight universities’ efforts to leverage community partnerships to improve students’ access to, success in and completion of college. “The end goal of this work is to help students to succeed in university math classrooms and become good consumers of the mathematics they learn,” said Dr. Rajee Amarasinghe, chair of the Department of Mathematics. “We are exploring new ways by disrupting silos to connect high school, community college and university math professionals to pool their skills to create high impact math classrooms.”