Declaration, Values, Core Competencies, and Strategic Imperatives


To be the premier College of Agricultural Sciences in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the US, one of the top five in the nation and an international leader in the integration of the food and fiber system, ecosystem, and socioeconomic system to enable the discovery and implementation of innovative research based solutions to challenges in agriculture and natural resources while strengthening communities and quality of life, and educating the leaders of today and the future.


  • Passionate about achieving excellence across all missions
  • Responsive and agile in the development of solutions to emerging stakeholder issues
  • Creative and innovative in finding solutions
  • Diversity, multicultural understanding, cross-cultural competency and an atmosphere of mutual respect
  • Integrity, honesty, openness, shared responsibility and mutual accountability
  • Engagement of students and stakeholders through listening, experiential learning and problem solving
  • Nurturing of personal and professional growth and development
  • A team approach that is interdisciplinary and cross-functional for solving complex problems that serve the common good

Core Competencies

  • Teaching and Learning by Doing - Engaging students, scientists, leaders, and employees in lifelong experiential learning to increase their preparedness and effectiveness in their chosen careers.
  • Putting Science to Work - Effectively discovering and translating relevant research and science to solve real-world problems.
  • Managing Information/Solution Distribution –Providing unique and user friendly distribution models that rapidly connect students, academia, governments, industry, and consumers to unbiased information and solutions. Engaging stakeholders to ensure that solutions are actually distributed, implemented, evaluated, and improved through feedback (the circle of science).
  • Focusing on the Convergence of the Food System - Addressing teaching, research, and extension around an interdisciplinary, systems approach that focuses on the sustainable intersection of three interrelated systems: food and fiber system; ecosystem; and socioeconomic system.
  • Valuing and Building Diverse Partnerships - Bringing diverse teams of stakeholders to the table to facilitate relevant, comprehensive and collaborative solutions that are developed by defining and leveraging the emerging issues, opposing viewpoints, concerns, strengths, and knowledge of all partners.
  • Leveraging Unique National Networks - Aggressively participating in and leveraging the expertise, resources, and opportunities of the unique, national land-grant system that includes partnerships with land-grant and other institutions, USDA, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and other governmental agencies.

Strategic Imperative Projects

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Team 1 - By all estimates, over the next 30 years, the world’s population is going to grow by nearly 50%, requiring a doubling of food production with less arable land, less water and less energy. What is the college's potential long-term impact in the area of food and fiber production, food security and safety?:

Points to consider:

  • Although the actual production of food employs a small percentage of the population, our products touch everyone. How do we also engage consumers that have increasing expectations and values around how their food is produced, health issues, safety expectations, as well as convenience and taste preferences?
  • What opportunities exist around genetically modified foods and creation of healthier foods?
  • What opportunities exist around improved production practices, reducing wastes, and practices to protect our food supply/environment from both intentional and unintentional threats (insects, diseases, invasive species)?
  • What opportunities exist around improving food quality/safety practices, increasing shelf life, developing third party audit systems to address consumer concerns/values (organic, food safety, animal welfare, sustainability, etc.)?
  • What opportunities exist around improving safety in food processing, distribution and consumption from processing plants, retailers, restaurants and homes through best practices and new technologies?

Team 2 - With human reliance on and preference for animal protein, the importance (both emotional and economic) of companion and work animals, the emergence of significant zoonotic diseases, and the threats and realities of pandemics - the intersection of humans and animals and the need to keep both healthy is critical. What is the college's potential long term impact in the area of human and animal health?

Points to consider:

  • What opportunities exist around improving animal production methods and welfare?
  • What opportunities exist around the need for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, emergency response and eradication of threats?
  • What opportunities exist around the issue of globalization and the spread of health threats?
  • What opportunities exist around biosecurity?

Team 3 - One of the most popular definitions of sustainability can be traced to a 1987 UN conference. It defined sustainable developments as those that "meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs"(WECD, 1987). What are key areas the college has great ownership in around sustainability and what is the college's potential long term impact in this area?

Points to consider:

  • What opportunities exist around the EPA mandates for Pennsylvania around Chesapeake Bay and water quality and our stakeholder priorities around need for science-based regulations, effective ways to address concerns, accurately measure effectiveness of implementation, implement change, and understand compliance needs?
  • What opportunities exist around land-use issues such as rural/urban interface, Marcellus Shale, foodscapes, watersheds, forests, etc., unique urban issues, needs and impacts?
  • What opportunities exist around bio-waste management and reducing the environmental impact of food, fiber, and bio-fuel production?
  • What opportunities exist around potential of a bio-based economy, including energy?

Team 4 - Cooperative Extension is about to celebrate its 100th birthday and incredible system successes in that time frame. What is the role of Cooperative Extension in the 21st century?

Points to consider:

  • What is the best business and funding model for Extension's success into the future (within college, within Outreach, independent, etc.)?
  • How can Extension serve as an economic engine for communities, families and individuals and improve organizational focus and relevancy?
  • How can Extension best leverage the assets in the college and university and provide the maximum impact for college and university stakeholders?
  • How can Extension remain a premier information distribution model with dramatic societal transformations in communication methods and information distribution and access?

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