Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Dan Arp Oral History Interview, October 10, 2019

Oregon State University
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

CHRIS PETERSEN: Okay. Today is October 10, 2019. This is our second interview with Dan Arp. The last time we talked a lot about [his] path through academia, educational trajectory, and a fair amount about research and the focus for today will be largely on administrative work and a little bit more about your faculty position. We referenced in the first interview the first inkling, I think, of interest in administrative work at UC Riverside. You come to OSU. You have a faculty position. The first administrative post that I could find, at least, was 1993 Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology Program.

DAN ARP: Right.

CP: That's the beginning, then?

DA: It really is. It's the first time that I move from working on a faculty committee of any sort. In some of those cases I would become the chair of those committees but this was then quite different. Now I'm in charge of a unit, a 00:01:00program. In this case, it was a graduate program, a molecular and cellular biology graduate program. What's interesting, unique I guess, about that-it was only in its second year. This was a program that started, well, I guess we're going back about 28 years ago now. It was a program the faculty felt an intense need for. At OSU in the life sciences were mostly divided along what you might think of as taxa: you got the plant folks and the bacteria folks and the animal folks, but there are a lot of things that unite us in the other direction, as well. For example, you look at things from a molecular level or you look at them at an organismal level or you look at them at an ecosystem level. We needed a way to bring the molecular folks together. The tools that they had could all be shared amongst each other. The genes didn't care if they were coming from an animal or from a plant. There was an explosion of information and new techniques in that field. The faculty came together and said we need a graduate program in 00:02:00this area. The administration kind of said, well, okay fine, as long as it doesn't cost us anything. That meant the program had to be done with what the faculty viewed as volunteer work. So, to teach the additional courses that were required kind of had that as an add-on to their teaching assignments; if you took people into your lab you had to figure out where you were going to get the funding for them and so on.

Went to the administration. They said, fine, go ahead and do it. Got it started. Dennis Hruby took it through that initial phase of getting it off the ground. He did it for a year and then was ready to step away from it and get back to his research, and then at that time I think he was getting started with his company as well. They had an internal search. I was encouraged to put my name in, which was a little bit interesting because, as an aside, you grow up in biochemistry 00:03:00either as a protein guy or a gene guy. I grew up as a protein guy and here I was being asked to come in and run a gene program. By that time, our own research, my own research, was moving more towards a combined protein and gene approach. It made sense in that regard. I threw my name in. I went through a brief interview and then didn't hear anything. Then one day one of my friends, colleagues in the hallway congratulated me. I said, for what? He said you haven't heard yet? No, heard what? Well apparently, I had been selected to be the director but the Deans in charge of the program had forgotten to mention it to me or didn't know whose responsibility it was. There were in fact three Deans who were involved in that: the Dean of the Graduate School and then my appointment was in both Science and Ag, so either of them could have contacted me. At any rate, we got that straightened out. I took it on. Realized pretty 00:04:00quickly the job was now to bring this kind of upstart graduate program into what in biochemical terms we would call a steady state. Move it from something that was trying to figure out how to do things to doing them on a regular, routine basis, knowing how to do it, managing the ins and outs of it. I did that for seven years. It was, I think on paper it was a quarter time position. I had a light teaching assignment, so I really didn't get any teaching relief to speak of. Fortunately, my department head, Stella Coakley, was certainly very supportive and did not overburden me with other committee responsibilities and things. She knew I was busy taking care of the molecular and cellular biology graduate program. It was a good start to administration. I was able to keep my research program going full steam ahead during that seven year period.

CP: I have talked to many administrators and they often talk about having to make a compromise at that point and research often suffers. It doesn't sound 00:05:00like that was the case with you.

DA: Not at that point, no. I was able to keep it all going. Maybe it even helped a little bit, because I had access to the graduate students and the coursework, the techniques, all the faculty out there. That was one of the things I liked about it. It was not limited to a single department or even a single discipline. I was able to really tap into all the different faculty. Not that it wasn't a challenge. It was. There was a lot going on then. But research continued to grow and to flourish and we kept bringing in grants and writing papers.

CP: And the program grew as well?

DA: The program-over that seven years it hit a steady state and stayed there during the time that I was director. We faced some challenges. When we started, we had two NIH training grants and neither of those were renewed. The funding that we had to help with graduate students especially in their first year wasn't available 00:06:00anymore. Now we were struggling to get commitments from other people, from deans, departments, but we were able to do that, and we were able to keep the program at about the same size that it blasted up to and stayed there for a few years.

CP: You found that you enjoyed the administrative work?

DA: Yes. Yeah, I mean-so, enjoy. I'm never sure that's the right word because administrative work is challenging and much of it is thankless. People don't really appreciate what goes into it until you do it yourself. It's like many things. I often go back to the analogy of public schools. Everybody went to school; therefore, everybody knows how to run a school. Well, no. It's not that simple. I went to school; therefore, I know how to teach. There's much more to administration than just having seen someone else do it. You learn. You learn as 00:07:00you're going. I really got a kick out of helping to make that program flourish, to be able to engage people, to have them feel like it was something they wanted to do, which they did. They saw the value in it as well. As long as all those pieces were fitting, you get a lot of reward out of administration. I sensed that. I also was able to do it. I didn't have any major divisions, blow-ups, problems that we couldn't fix or solve or deal with and so yeah it felt good. It felt like something that I could do successfully.

CP: I want to ask a couple questions about your faculty appointment in the early 2000s and the first is 2002 you became an endowed professor.

DA: Right.

CP: The L.L. Stewart Professor of Gene Research.

DA: Right.

CP: What is your memory of that moment?


DA: Surprise. I was deeply honored and humbled that my colleagues and a committee felt I was deserving of that award. It had been held by other people that I really hold in very high regard prior to that. The fact that they chose me to be the next person to hold that endowed professorship was a real honor. It also gave me a chance to meet Stub Stewart. Stub, the first time I met him Rich Holden and I went to visit him in his office over in Eugene as just an annual thanks, appreciate what you're doing for the university. I was then the new person so took me along, and it was a real kick to meet Stub Stewart. He was an interesting guy and then the second time I went by myself. I went over and made an appointment. Went over to see him and chatted with him about my research. It 00:09:00was pretty clear at that point that his health was declining, but I had no idea that he would pass within two or three weeks after that. I think I was the last OSU person to speak with him before he passed. He was a tremendous benefactor, of course, to the university. This was just one of the many things that he helped do. His brother as well, but certainly Stub was who I had the connection with.

CP: That's the family behind the LaSells Stewart Center, correct?

DA: Exactly, yes.

CP: Yeah. Two years later Distinguished Professor, an honor that's bestowed on two people a year.

DA: That one blew me away even more. Completely surprised me. Distinguished professor was not on my radar. So, what does that mean? The gene research endowed professorship. I knew about that when I knew some of the people who had it, so I was aware of that. I was barely aware that OSU was even handing out 00:10:00distinguished professorships at that point. I was busy doing my work being a professor, doing what I thought I was paid to do. I had just taken over as department head, or it was my acting year. I'm not even sure which now.

CP: I think that you had just taken over, yeah.

DA: Had just taken over, okay. I was a little chagrined that a faculty meeting had been scheduled without consulting me. The office manager, Dianne Simpson, basically told me that there was going to be a faculty meeting and the Deans were going to come over. What the heck is going on here? I kind of gave her a little bit of a hard time about it. First of all, Dianne's hard to give a hard time about anything. She just smiled and said you'll be okay. Alright. The Deans are coming over to share something important with the department. They both show up. At this point, this is Dutson and it was Horne, it was still Horne, and make 00:11:00the announcement and I was just completely surprised. Completely caught off guard. I had no idea. A huge honor. As it started to sink it what it meant I was really stunned even more so. Yeah, it was a tremendous validation of all the different things that I'd done.

The research program was going well at that time. I had also engaged in other activities. I was directing the NCB program. I had taken on administrative roles. I served in Faculty Senate. I was a way of saying that all these things were important. Any distinguished professorship has continued to have that element to it. It's not just one thing that you're excellent in. You have to really show success and excellence in a lot of different areas. It was tremendous. I have to give a lot of credit to Don Armstrong, who, Don recently 00:12:00passed away. He was a faculty member in Botany and Plant Pathology. He was the one who wrote the application and Don was a marvelous writer. You're limited in the amount of words that you could put down on paper and Don took advantage of that and every word that he wrote in that nomination counted and mattered. I really appreciate Don's abilities and willingness to do that. He didn't just do that for me. He became sort of the department nominator and a lot of people received college and campus awards because of his input. It was great. A really terrific honor.

CP: We referenced the interim year as department head in 2002-2003. Stella Coakley had been. She moved up the ladder, I gather.

DA: Yeah, so the acting year Stella had an appointment at USDA, at National 00:13:00Institute of Food and Agriculture at Washington, D.C. She had the opportunity. In order to do that she needed someone to step in what was technically referred to as an acting department head. Not interim, because she was coming back, so acting role and asked if I would be, the Deans asked me if I'd be willing to do that. I was comfortable, and the faculty were comfortable with me doing that. That was my first taste of running the department. Stella came back from that and came back to the department head position, was in there for a fairly short time when she had the opportunity to move up to Associate Dean in the College of Ag Sciences. By that time, she'd put in close to 15 years, I think, as department head and so she'd been at it for quite a while and was ready for a fresh challenge, something new to do. Then that opened the possibility for me to enter into that position, take that position.

CP: Tell me more about Stella. I've interviewed her. She's quite a person.

DA: Yeah, Stella's terrific. Stella, of course, is a lot of the reason I moved 00:14:00up here. She was the one who actively recruited me, made it all possible. One of the rather remarkable things that Stella did, just kind of shows at what level she functions all the time, so we had-my wife and I agreed to move to Corvallis, had accepted the job, but in Riverside this was a little hard on folks because we were leaving. But we decided to throw ourselves a going away party and invite everybody. There we are at a going away party. Stella had arranged to have a bouquet of balloons delivered to that party. That's Stella. She's always thinking about the people that she is working for, and that's the way Stella viewed leadership. She was working on behalf of the people she worked with. It was great. I was really fortunate to have her as a department head for that many years. My department head in Riverside was a woman. My department head in 00:15:00Corvallis was a woman for 15, so I'd been working with women as leaders for 20 years of my career at that point, and then Stella moves up to Associate Dean, I move into department head. Guess who my boss is up at the College of Ag Sciences? Stella. So, it continued, that job. We'll get to the other side of that story when we talk about my accepting Dean of the College of Ag Sciences.

CP: Alright. Well, as department head and you assume a department that I gather is in pretty good shape. Tell me about the circumstances of your assuming that position and your vision for what was to come.

DA: Well, the department was in pretty good shape at that point. When Stella took it over it wasn't. I think it's fair to say when Stella took over 00:16:00leadership of the department it was Botany and Plant Pathology and Stella was determined-and when Stella's determined about something, it usually happens. She was determined to make it a united department. That was really her focus in those early years. That was reflected in a lot of the hires she made. She'd make sure people had a foot in both camps and valued and respected what the other parts of the department were doing and really kind of worked just to that point where we really couldn't think of ourselves anymore as one or the other or one was stronger, and one was the weaker cousin or anything like that. We were one department. In that sense, we were in good shape. Where we struggled was budgetarily and being in two colleges created some advantages but also some real challenges. That was kind of the torch I was handed. Budget-not in debt but some challenges we were dealing with and always needing more-a department always 00:17:00wants more positions and more support, so always in that challenge of trying to find more for your department. That's what I took on. A great group of faculty. A good graduate program, and actually several. Again, we participated in Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program, we had our own graduate program: Botany and Plant Pathology. We accepted students from a number of other programs on campus as well. A lot of things going well for us at that time.

A vision, for any administrator, the most important thing is not to screw it up. So, don't make it worse. That's always in the back of your mind. Then you think, okay, where do we go? How do we position ourselves for additional positions? What does that take? How do we deal with the budget problems that we are dealing with? How do we manage the people that we have? Really just trying to move us up that quality ladder. Mostly doing that by letting people flourish, letting them 00:18:00become the best they can be. What do you need to be successful? Acknowledging or accepting that I can't give you everything, but within the things that I have in my power, what can I do to help you with your program. That's the way I approached it. Essentially, I think people refer to that now as service leadership, so thinking about how to serve the unit that you're leading. It worked well for me. I think the faculty appreciated it. We continued to climb that quality ladder. If you look, for example, at grantsmanship over the four years that I was department head, we kept gaining in terms of the dollars flowing through the department. By the time I left, we were in competition with one of two other departments for the largest grant portfolio of any department on campus, and that included-so, Fisheries and Wildlife, always had a very 00:19:00strong program, and at that time it was Forest Science, which became Forest Ecosystems and Society, but that Department also had, but then we kind of got up there on top and when Lynda Ciuffetti took over they stayed there as the largest grant, the most prolific in terms of the dollars of grants coming through. I was kind of proud of that. It felt good.

CP: It strikes me as being curious that it was in two different colleges.

DA: Right. It had to do with the way they grew up. When they were combined-and I don't know all the history in terms of the decision to combine what were then separate departments: Botany and Plant Pathology. Plant Pathology was a department in the College of Ag Sciences and Botany was a department in the College of Science, so the two were combined. Even when Stella took over and 00:20:00when I took over and still today there were positions that up to that point, another part of the story here, but up to the time Lynda took over there were still positions that were just science, positions that were just Ag Science funded, some that were joint. It was a mishmash of different positions because of the way they came together. The College of Science had the teaching component. The College of Ag Science was primarily funding the research and Extension components, but Science also had a research commitment there as well.

It was interesting. The advantages were you had two Deans you could go and talk to. You had two places where you had an opportunity to get positions or get help with what you needed. The disadvantage was the Deans knew that. They would well, what's so-and-so saying? Well, they're saying if you do this-you know. That was 00:21:00the challenge we had with it. As I progressed through my years, the frustration we had was Science was in a very, very challenging financial situation so looked at Botany and Plant Pathology as one of the two or three jointly administered departments and said look you got someone else who can take care of you. You're going to be okay. I've got to put my resources into these other units that don't have anyone else. Well, that would have been fine if that other place could also help with teaching, but that line had been drawn, so we were in this awkward place of well this is not working, and the faculty finally reached a point where they said I think we would be better off moving the entire administration into the College of Ag Sciences. So, we-the Department made that pitch to the administration. Sabah Randhawa was Provost at the time, and he deliberated on it for a while. That's was what Sabah did, but finally agreed that yes this would 00:22:00be the right thing to do. At that point moved the entire administration of the Department of College of Agricultural Sciences and moved us out of the College of Science, so now all the positions are College of Ag Sciences. It was a big change.

CP: Not while you were in charge, though, is that correct? It came after?

DA: The decision was made just as I was leaving.

CP: Okay, so you were part of making that pitch?

DA: I was the one who made the pitch. I was the department head when the pitch was made. Yes.

CP: Around the time that you became department head, or perhaps, Acting department head you were doing quite well in the grant business: in 2003 a $1.1 million grant, 2004 about $2 million. I'm assuming that your research didn't suffer too much from your administrative portfolio during this period of time?

DA: No. There are many reasons for it, but a couple are people. One of them was 00:23:00a person who worked in the lab. He'd worked his way up as a post doc and became a research assistant and then associate and finally full professor, and his name Louis Sayavedra-Soto. Louis was the guy who I could count on to show the new graduate student how to use the gas chromatograph, to help a student or post doc with an initial draft on a paper, and just help and keep the equipment and the lab running. He was managing that part of the lab. Then Peter Bottomley. Peter is a very important part of the story as well. Peter and I had started collaborating a few years earlier and didn't completely merge our labs, but we were doing a lot of things together. We were training a number of our students together. We were writing grants together, publishing papers together. Having those two individuals who were okay with me taking on the department head 00:24:00position. I'd certainly chatted with them before, but they said yeah, I think we'll figure out how to make it work. They were very supportive and because of those two individuals that really helped tremendously to keep the program going and moving forward.

We were running off of momentum that we'd built up, but the goal was to keep the momentum going. Department head positions are consuming. I've often said they're the most challenging positions on campus. Not that the President or the Provost and the Deans don't have their challenges as well. They do. But they're often setting policy, but the department heads that's where the rubber hits the road. As a Dean I can give a 3% cut to a department but a department head can't give a 3% cut across the board within the Department. They have to finally sit down and decide, okay, this is what's going, and this is what we're keeping. Those are 00:25:00tough positions, but if you manage your time well and again you have good support people that are working with you and you let them do their jobs, there can be time, at least there was for me, to also run that research program. During that time as department head I was able to keep the research going and really keep, yeah, bringing in some pretty good-sized grants and moving into some, developing some new areas of research. It was a good time for both the research and administrative activities.

CP: Okay, well, we get to 2008 and your portfolio takes a radical shift.

DA: It does. Yes.

CP: Dean of the Honors College.

DA: Right.

CP: How did this happen?

DA: How did this happen? I was of course aware of the Honors College. I'd been engaged in various ways with the Honors College since its reinvention. There was an Honors Program but now we're talking about the University Honors College that 00:26:00Joe Hendricks was the founding Dean of. I was on the committee that helped to select Joe, make the recommendation to hire Joe as the Dean, then Director, actually. That's when he was Director of the Honors College. Roy Arnold's the one who made the decision to elevate that to a Dean position. I remember when he called and asked if I thought that was okay. He was just checking in with a number of people, and of course I went yes, it's well overdue. Yeah of course he should be a Dean.

I was engaged at that point and stayed on the advisory council for the Honors College and then got involved in teaching a course called Intro to Thesis. Part of the requirements for an Honors College student is to complete a thesis and there's a course that they all took to get them started and Joe and I taught that course together. I met Joe and volunteered to help with that course, and he 00:27:00welcomed me and through that we became very good friends. We actually taught that course 19 times. The first year, only taught it once, but every year after that we taught it twice a year. We got to the point where we could finish each other's jokes. I was engaged with the Honors College at that level. Then my daughter was admitted into the Honors College and completed her honors thesis. So, I saw it from the perspective of a parent as well. I had quite a bit of experience with the Honors College and really appreciated the mission and saw the value it brought to a comprehensive Land Grant university, but to be fair I was a little slow in thinking that this was really something that I wanted to do.

I didn't put my name in the first time around. There was the call for, an internal call for nominations and expressions of interest and I didn't put my 00:28:00name in. Three people were selected for interviews, were interviewed, Sabah made the decision that none of them were quite what he was looking for and reopened the search. I got a little bit of encouragement from a couple of good friends: Kevin Ahern and Leanne Baker. Kevin, professor in Biochemistry and Leanne was in the Honors College, and I'd worked with Leanne before that as well. That was enough to put me over the edge. I put my name in. as it turns out, there was only one name internally in the second round and that was me. Went through the interview and Sabah offered me the position. Now we're moving into a different realm now. This is a Dean position. That's not College of Ag Sciences but still Dean. I was concerned about research and I remember Sabah's approach was, we don't care if you do research.

But the message was clear: what comes first is the Honors College. That was 00:29:00fine. That was the way I did the Botany and Plant Pathology when I was head there as well. That came first, the research I found time for that, but I knew that the primary responsibility has to be the unit that you're leading. I took on the job and again because I had Louise and Peter and a great group of folks that we were working with in the lab we could keep the research moving so that was fine, and then start working in this new administrative role. This was a step up. This was different. This was no longer the Colleges that I was comfortable with. This was now interacting with the Deans of all the other Colleges, all the Vice Presidents and Vice Provosts. It was new. Also, the University Honors College size-wise was very small. If you look at the budget that flows through it compared to Engineering or Vet Med or any of the other 00:30:00colleges, it's very small. No faculty-well, one faculty position. The writing instructor, Harry Kill, was the only faculty position in the University Honors College staff, so very different model from what all of the other Colleges had.

As the challenges, those four years that I was Dean of the Honors College, again, budget's always an issue, but we were because of our model relatively stable. We were going to make it. Again, we could always use more resources, but we had a model that was going to allow us to be fine, where some of the other Colleges were really struggling. That was the financial climate. The University Honors College at that point was at that point 13-15 years into its new 00:31:00iteration. Joe had left it in very good shape financially, reputation-wise, the people that he'd hired, the infrastructure. It was in good shape. I didn't have to come in and fix things. That wasn't the charge, not at all. But I did come in and look at it and felt that there's an opportunity here to grow it so at that point it was serving about 3% of the students on campus. I felt that it could grow, it could at least double in size and not lose its small college in a large university feel. It could still have that small college feel to it.

I discussed that with my advisory council, my board of regents, which was an external advisory group with Sabah and others and got the green light to go 00:32:00ahead and start working on that. That was the main thing that I worked on during my years in the Honors College. It's not just accepting twice as many students. The quality of students we needed were there. We could come down to twice as many students and still have excellent students that we were accepting. A lot of the challenges were ramping up the coursework. You couldn't go from 15 to 30 students in a class, that would have violated the spirit of the Honors College. Instead we had to go from one to two sections of honors calculus or get more colloquia and so on. That was part of the challenge, then. Also finding twice as many mentors for the thesis projects. We had to ratchet everything up a little bit at a time as we went. We didn't just in one-year double it, but we set ourselves on a course to double it in about a four-year period, which was what happened.

CP: What tools did you have at your disposal to find new courses or new mentors?


DA: Well, by that time reputation was out. People knew that these Honors College students lived up to the reputation. On the teaching side of it, there was no problem finding professors who wanted to teach Honors College courses. I remember one conversation with one Honors College professor who taught an Honors College course and he said oh I love teaching Honors College courses. It's like a mini-sabbatical from my regular teaching. It was. Because the small classes and students approach it in a different way. Another illustration, this is from Bill Bogley who taught in the Mathematics Department and taught calculus. He says the difference is when I go teach my regular 100-student calculus class I've got to be pretty scripted. I've got to know what I want to get across and how many minutes I need to talk about each subject and how I'm going to do it 00:34:00and so on. He says in the Honors College course I come in and I know what I need to get covered but I'm not scripted. I'm not feeling like I have to lecture to these students. We come in and well let's spend a little bit of time on this aspect of integral calculus. Let's spend a little time on this. I get the material covered but it's a totally different way of doing it. That's the teaching.

The challenge was that if you took a Bill Bogley out of his Mathematics Department teaching that created a hole there, so that was the challenge. That's one of the other things that we worked on while I was Dean and Bill was the Associate Dean at that time and really gets credit for a lot of the actual making this happen. We create a hole over here but now we got another course in mathematics and another course and before long we've got five or six courses and we can justify giving the Honors College funds to the Department of Mathematics not for a single course but for a suite of courses. Here's an agreement: we'll 00:35:00give you enough money to hire an instructor, you give us these five courses. We don't care who you put in those courses. You make that decision as long as we're not getting complaints from the students and so on. That opened up a new model for how to think about it. That became replicated in a number of departments. We also made some new models for how we would do some of the larger class sizes. For example, biology, we ended up with a biology honors laboratory section, but the students would attend the regular lecture. We found different ways to help meet the spirit of the Honors College but in different ways. Those were some of the things that we did. That was one of the tools that was at my disposal to help find the people to teach the courses. Thesis mentors-you know, we weren't really saturating the number of people that were available out there, not at all.


There are two reasons for that. One is that we really didn't have a very good graduation rate in the Honors College. That was always one of the other things that we worked very hard at. Students would get the juice out of it in the first two or three years taking the small classes and then when it came time to do the thesis, they were like I don't know this is extra work, I'm not sure if this is going to help me, whatever reason they'd just kind of let that drift away and not get it done. Even with the number of students that we had there were still lots of people out there that could provide the mentoring the students needed to complete a thesis. That really wasn't a challenge. I mentioned Kevin earlier, Kevin Ahern, Kevin and I and his wife, Indira, worked to revamp intro to honors thesis. It became much more than a one-credit this will give you some ideas about how to find a mentor. It became a much more involved year-by-year process 00:37:00to bring students in, even as freshman, and get them thinking about it and start it and working. About the time that was coming to fruition I was moving on. I think it helped a bit, but I know it's still a challenge to get the students to the goal line in the Honors College.

CP: Two beloved figures in the Honors College-Kevin and Indira.

DA: Yes. Yes. Yeah, they were terrific. I could always count on Kevin, could always count on Indira. Also, we talked last time about the GK12 program and the HHMI, Howard Hues Medical Institute grant, so they were key players in that as well. I had a lot of fun with Kevin and Indira over the years.

CP: When it was created, the Honors College was in a little corner of Strand Ag Hall and it's definitely not now. It's at the top of the LINC building. Were you part of that at all? There was a transition through Weniger Hall for a little while too, I think.


DA: Yeah, so that was interesting. When I took over a couple of things were happening there. We were tucked away in Strand Ag Hall, but Joe had managed to pull some dollars together to do some serious refurbishing, remodeling in there. People would come through the still little bit dingy halls in Strand and come into this Honors space and go oh my goodness this is really nice. Yeah, this is what you can do with this old building if you put a little money into it. So, I had plans for how to continue to expand it and I was working on those and was going to continue grabbing space whenever I could, whenever it became available and refurbish it and keep growing the program that way. We invested in the SLUG, which was the Student Learning Underground, that was the basement student lounge. Then one day I heard from someone a rumor that the Honors-I was Dean of 00:39:00the Honors College and I literally heard a rumor that the Honors College was going to move to the new classroom building when it was built. I go that's the first I heard. Eventually the rumor was confirmed. Yeah, someone had made that decision that that's where we would move to. I quickly got over that kind of sense well how dare you without talking to me feeling and alright this is going to be great. From that point on, I was pretty involved in it, in that classroom. That was a kick. It was the first time I'd been involved in designing a building. We got a small group of us, I of course was representing the Honors College, but I could also represent other aspects of teaching on campus and we got to work with the architects in designing this building. It was really fun. Thinking about what kind of building we wanted, what kind of classrooms. The architects were terrific. As they realized that we were open to new things they just kept bringing more to us.

So, the classroom in the round, for example. That idea got presented. It 00:40:00would've been so easy to just say no that's not the way we do it. Instead, we all kind of looked at each other and went well, you the architects are presenting a very compelling reason for why this makes sense and it has to do with eye contact and how far away you can still pick up on body language and things and once you're just a few rows away that stuff's all gone. But in a round you can keep the entire classroom of 600 people in that zone. So, I was like okay that's really cool to think about. Some of the other classrooms that we were able to design as well were just a lot of fun. Also, I wasn't alone, but I was certainly one of those pushing for informal learning space, how important that was in the building. You need to have little nooks and crannies and places where students can sit and hang out between classes or professors can come and chat with students after a class while students still interested in something they talked about in the class. Different ways like that to use that space. I was really pleased to be a part of those conversations. We actually got to go on 00:41:00a trip with the architects and went down and looked at some buildings at Stanford and then at Arizona State.

At Stanford there was this really wonderful moment where our little group of four or five of us are looking at a physics building, and this was Stanford so of course it's pretty nice. Steep seats but into a stage that rotates. The idea is you can be setting up next lecture period's experiments while this professor's out doing his thing. We're looking at this and enjoying it and in walks a gentleman-I would describe him as somewhat typical disheveled professor look, okay. Oh, hi what are you folks doing here? Well, we're a small group from Oregon State University coming down here just to look at blah, blah blah. He says oh, okay, yeah this works pretty well. I like this, and I teach my lectures here and so on and so forth and he's chatting with us and we're like oh this guy 00:42:00knows his way around this lecture hall and teaching. As we're leaving he says if you want to know any more about me you can look me up, I'm a Nobel Prize winner. Here's my name and here's where you can find me.

We walk out of that and go oh my goodness. That kind of fun I wouldn't have had if it weren't for that new building. The vision on that building. I really appreciated the willingness of everybody on the team, including the administration to think about what kind of a building can we have here that we can be proud of. We saw some on one of those campuses and it wasn't Stanford where these were not fun places to be. They were cookie cutter, concrete classroom. Yeah, there were 15 of them, but every one was identical and you're walking down concrete caverns to get from one class to another. Not pleasant. I 00:43:00appreciated that we weren't going to do this on a shoestring budget, and we were going to do it right. It is. It's a beautiful building. I'm very proud of it with one minor exception: I do not like the brightly colored staircases, but I can live with that to get the rest of the building.

CP: Well, you get your workout at least when you go up and down. It's got to be the longest staircase on campus.

DA: I think it probably is, yeah.

CP: You were a Dean during a time period that I think is going to be remembered for the capital campaign that was happening during that time. I'm guessing that the Honors College was involved on some level but I'm sure as a Dean you were involved at a higher level as well. Can you tell me your memories of that experience?

DA: Yeah, so I came into it in the middle. The campaign had already gone through its silent phase and it was on its way. The Honors College was, again, a 00:44:00relatively small from a financial standpoint. We didn't have our own development officer, so we were sharing a development officer. It wasn't the same set of goals that you had in the larger colleges. Nonetheless, we had our goals and we had our donors that we were cultivating and working with. One of the things I did during that time was to move the board of regents from an advisory group to a fundraising group, which aligned it with all the other fundraising groups that all the other colleges had, so they were capital campaign boards or groups that helped them with that. That was really their main goal was to help think about how do we raise money. I mean I know why Joe set it up the way he did initially, but it just reached the point where it was time for it to change.

I remember some pretty frustrating conversations early on where my board of 00:45:00advisors for the University Honors College would get concerned about parking permits, the way the tuition bills were set up and things like that. Things that really didn't have, couldn't change, it just wasn't what they needed to be worrying about. We got that transition made. It started to lay the groundwork for fundraising in the Honors College. Joe had done a terrific job of getting it started and we tried to keep moving that gauge. When I moved to Ag Sciences, now we ramped up a couple of orders of magnitude in terms of the size of goals and the effort that we were engaged in. It was different.

CP: Can I ask if there was a feeling of competition amongst the Deans during this period of time? It was a very exciting time with lots of money being raised, but I'm sure that everybody was keeping an eye out [laughs].

DA: So, absolutely there was competition. It was bragging rights. It wasn't so 00:46:00much an issue about resources or development officer's time. At that time, it was pretty well sorted out. Engineering had their folks. Ag Science had their folks and so on. We knew who we were dealing with and we all had goals. The competition was in who was going to be the first to hit their goal, who was going to be the first to exceed their goal. Who was going to be the first to bring in seven, eight-figure gifts. Those were the kind of things that people were talking about. So, absolutely, yeah. It wasn't just the Deans, it was the development officers too. Everybody had this, but it was friendly competition. It was the spirit of yes, we're going to get this, and it kept everybody on their toes. If somebody else is reporting that they met this goal and they brought in this big gift it kind of made other people go why am I not there? It was good. It was a good time. It was fun. I came in in the middle of it. I didn't set the goals. I didn't select the campaign group for the College of Ag 00:47:00Sciences. Those kinds of things are already rolling. I was just sort of was handed the baton and said go, go.

CP: Do I understand correctly that while you were Dean of the Honors College you were also Director of the Center for Genome Research and Computing for half a year?

DA: Yeah, for a short time. I had been, okay what's the history there? The Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program worked closely with the Center for Gene Research and Biocomputing. I worked closely with both of the directors of that. At that time, it was Jim and when he decided to move on I was on the committee to help hire the next person. We hired the next person, but he was not able to be here for another six or eight months so they needed an acting person. 00:48:00Again, someone just while, in that case it was interim to bridge from one to the next. I knew the people. I knew the job. I told, let's see that was back to Rich Holdren again who was in the research office. I said Rich I'll do it. I will keep it running. I will not make major decisions, because we had a new person coming in, but I'll make sure the work gets done. We'll keep it moving forward. Yes, there was a period of time there where I was directing the Center for Gene Research and Biocomputing and running the Honors College and still had my research lab going as well. It was a busy time.

CP: I would imagine. Well 2012 comes about and you shift from one college to another. This is not a typical path for an administrator to go from one college to another. You have to hand off in one place and assume in another.

DA: Right. Yes. Again, the circumstances around being selected as Dean of the 00:49:00College of Ag Sciences were unusual. I was preceded by Sonny Ramaswamy. Sonny had only been in the role for about two and a half, maybe approaching three years, when he left. But he had been tapped for his position almost a year earlier. I think it took almost eight months or a year from the time that he first knew that he was likely to move to direct the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. A very prestigious position, not one that's easy to turn down, even though he had only been at OSU for a relatively short time you knew he was going. I think in Sabah's mind, Sonny had started checking out when he got that phone call. Sabah didn't want to put the college through another lengthy search process. It takes about a year from the time you start a search to the time you have a new person in the seat. It just does. He didn't want the College to have 00:50:00to go through that again and so he kind of looked out at who he had in leadership and asked me if I would be willing. He just said would you be willing to take on the role of the College of Agricultural Sciences and once I got back up off the floor and into my chair and started thinking about it, fortunately in this case I had lots of time to think about it.

At that time, I think we thought it would be a very short time, but in fact that got drawn out from the time Sonny got his phone call to the time he actually moved. I had time to think about it, process it, and Sabah of course wanted to keep it under wraps, so I couldn't talk to a lot of people, but I had a good friend-I think I mentioned last session, Paul Ludden, who was also in leadership roles at that time, he was serving as Provost at Southern Methodist University. I checked with him. He said yeah, Dan, you can do it. I checked with Roy Arnold. 00:51:00Roy said, huh, I can kind of see why Sabah would want to do it that way and yes, I think you can do it. Then when the decision was finally made for Sonny to move, I was moved into that position.

That was interesting because the College was caught completely off-guard. They hadn't been communicated with at all in terms of what would happen when Sonny left. They just assumed that an interim would be appointed, start a search, and that's the way it would work. When Sabah and I commandeered one of their monthly leadership meetings and I walk in and Sabah walks in, everyone's pretty sure they know what's about to happen, that I'm going to be appointed as the interim Dean while a search went underway. I think they were pretty surprised when, no, 00:52:00Dan is the Dean of the College of Ag Sciences. I knew that this could create some concerns, both within the internal community but also the external community. One of the things about the College of Ag Sciences is there's a huge external support group, the stakeholders, that have a strong sense of ownership of the college which has to do with budgets and we'll cover that if you like. They didn't get to participate in selecting me.

The agreement we reached was that two years in we would check. We would go out and check with the stakeholders, we'd check with the internal folks, and have some sort of a process that we'd go through to check with everyone and say okay are you happy with Dan, is he doing the job, or is it time to start a search for a different Dean? That's the way it happened. There was remarkably little push 00:53:00back. I think there may have been a fair amount of chatter in the coffee shops across the state. I don't know. But very little of it got back to the college or to me. People knew me. They knew my administrative approach. They knew how I did things, so I think they were fine. I remember one person say to me, well, you know if it was going to be someone on campus you were one of the two people I thought it might be. I said, okay, well, I guess that's good. Then moved into that role.

For a short time, I was actually Dean of both colleges. Of course, it took a little while to get someone in place in the Honors College. Going back to that story, I hired Toni Doolan as Associate Dean when Bill Bogley moved on. I didn't know Toni at the time. She came and talked with me about the possibility of 00:54:00applying for the Associate Dean position. It was the first time I'd met her. At the end of that hour-long conversation, I'm going God I hope she applies for this position. She did and was the strong recommendation of the search committee and was happy to be able to hire her. So, when I moved on, I said well Toni I don't know what you want to do but I hope you put your name in for the permanent Dean of the Honors College. Again, she looked at me and went huh? Then I think she had a chance to go home and think about it and did put her name in. Of course, she continues to do marvelously in administrative roles both in the Honors College, Education, and then other places on campus. That's how that piece got resolved. So, now I'm in my new position of Dean of the College of Ag Sciences.

CP: A big job.

DA: It's, so-[laughs]. That might be an understatement. I had the job. Of course, I'm biased, but I've heard this from other people as well. It is 00:55:00arguably the most difficult of the Dean positions just because of the different pieces that it has. It may be one of the more challenging jobs on campus. I still believe the Provost has a more difficult job, but among the Deans it's right up there at the time. We're not the largest in terms of the number of students we have, but we do have a substantial academic program with 10, 12 undergraduate programs and departments. We have that component. But we also have the experiment station. Most people don't understand the experiment station. Most people on campus. I could never get this across to my Dean colleagues except for College of Forestry who shares in that type of funding structure. The experiment station is a line item in the state budget and is about 50% of the 00:56:00base budget of the College of Ag Sciences. That's a bunch of legislators every other year deciding that they want to send $25 million to the College to do its work annually. You're dependent on that for all of your experiment station faculty positions. Most of the people that are out there as professors in the College of Ag Sciences have a component of their position in the Experiment Station. Nobody else understands this model.

Another big chunk is Extension. That's also a line item from the state legislature. You put those two together and it's about 75-80% of the base budget of the College of Ag Sciences is the state legislature. That's why stakeholders become so important. I and the Director of Forest Experiment Station, the Dean of the College of Forestry, and the Vice President for Outreach and Engagement 00:57:00who is the Director of Extension. All three of us had dual roles would go to the legislature and we'd say why this money is so important. That's fine. They'd listen politely. When the stakeholders come in and say this is why we need this then the legislators listen. You had that component. Every other year I'm off at session, going to committee meetings, meeting with legislators, working with stakeholders, refining the message, developing the message, this is what we'll do with the money if we get it. So, on and so forth. There's that component that most others don't have.

Then we have the 13 branch experiment stations. We have physical space with professors, students, research, fields, barns, cattle across the state. You've got that expansiveness that you're dealing with. Of course and we're also in a 00:58:00state that is second only to California with respect to its diversity of agriculture. We have over 200 different things that we grow and produce in this state, more than Washington, more than any other state except, again, California. Just all these different components come together in the College of Ag Sciences. Bring into that the fact that you're also a director. You're Dean of the College of Ag Sciences and also Director of Agricultural Experiment Station. Yeah, it's a big job. So, how do you do it? Well, like any big job you have really good people that you work with. I was fortunate when I took the job that I had really good people who had worked with Sonny and were willing to stay on.

My Executive Associate Dean was Bill Boggess. Bill's still in that role now. Bill was terrific. Corporate memory. Strategic thinking. Ability to work with 00:59:00people, just had all the-and good at facilities too. He understood them. He liked working with facilities, so if a barn got hailed on and needed a new roof he understood what that meant and what it might cost to get it fixed. Had developed a terrific architect, Lowell Fausett, and he hired Josh Zojonc between the two-we were the only College with our own architect. But we had so many facilities that we saved a lot of money by having that person do our work for us. Then I had the two Associate Deans. So, Stella Coakley was one of those and Larry Curtis was the other one and again they knew their jobs. I could step in and you do your job. Keep me informed. Do your job. I can start picking up the other pieces that needed to be picked up. That's how you do that job. You make sure you surround yourself with really good people and give them the authority 01:00:00to do what they need to do and let them know that you got their back. You're going to support them. If they do something that I don't agree with we're going to figure it out, but we're not going to get hysterical about it. We're going to figure it out and we're going to move on from there. They were terrific.

Stella and Larry both got the point where they were ready to retire, and they did. Then I was able to bring in some new people. I moved in Dan Edge from Fisheries and Wildlife who had done a terrific job over at Fisheries and Wildlife, so I was real happy to get him moved into that position. Then Joyce Loper. Joyce had actually worked for USDA, a horticulture and research lab there, and served an administrative role there and also a bit higher up in USDA. Was just really happy to be able to hire her into that position. Then had two, well I was mentioning before in the life sciences you've got horizontal and 01:01:00vertical divisions that you make. Well, we have the same problem in the Colleges. You have the ones that we do along taxa, that's basically departments, but a lot of things that get done are really running the other way, like the academic programs. Hired Penny Diebel to serve as the Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and then Sam who came in to do the Program Director for Extension, but, again, we elevated that to an Assistant Dean position, and he took over that position. I had a great team and a great support staff in the office as well. We're a big College. There are lots of people to think about and work with, but that's what makes it work, good people.

CP: A big college and an old college. This, of course, was Oregon Agricultural College once upon a time. Agriculture has been central to OSU from the very beginning.

DA: Right.

CP: Multiple generations of alumni, I'm sure, have been Ag majors at OSU and 01:02:00developed strong feelings about the college.

DA: Absolutely.

CP: I'm sure that adds an extra level of complication to the job.

DA: [Laughs]. Yeah, it's complication but it's also part of the fun of it and the honor, really, of being able to lead that College for a period of time. Those people have an affection for the College, but part of that affection comes from the work that we do in the College. One of the things that you learn real quickly, right, is the only reason those stakeholders go and talk on our behalf in the legislature is because they believe in what we've done for them. At least, they know what we've done for them. One of the great stories that we tell all the time, maybe too much, is hazelnuts and how the breeding program there really saved that hazelnut industry. Those people appreciate that. Shawn Mehlenbacher figuring out how to deal with Eastern Filbert Blight and that's a wonderful story and it's a big story but there are hundreds and hundreds of 01:03:00those kinds of stories, not all quite as glamorous or big but there are lots of stories-they solve this, we solved this problem or that problem and are continuing to solve those problems and that's why people care about us.

Yeah, it's fascinating when you're out there on a ranch and you're talking to a fifth-generation rancher and out comes their kid and that's sixth generation there. It's humbling. It's humbling to realize there's that much continuity on that land. Grass seed farmers, wheat growers in the northeast. It doesn't matter where you turn in Oregon, you see that generational continuity, and it's just fascinating. If I can do just a brief aside here, I think I mentioned that I did a couple of Honors College courses, one of which was a field of fork. We were on one of those farmers in their machine shop and next to the grass drill and there was Lanny the great-grandfather and there was the grandfather and there was the 01:04:00son and then the great-grandson. They were all there together and the students that were in the class that we were teaching were blown away by that. Wow. One thing to talk about it. It's very different to experience it. Yeah, it's a big job. It's a rewarding job. You get to meet some incredible people and you get to see the breadth of what we do as a College.

CP: What was the status of the college when you took over?

DA: I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but there were budgetary challenges. Not disaster by any means, because it was well-managed. Again, I give Roy Arnold and after him Bill Boggess a lot of credit for that kind of financial management with the help of their financial team. But the state budgets continue to shrink. The battle wasn't getting more. The battle was 01:05:00staying where we were for the most part. We seldom won that battle. We're always shrinking a little bit. That was the challenge. You got used to we're going to deal with 3% less positions this year than we had last year. That doesn't sound like a lot. That's manageable. But when it's year after year, it becomes very real. That was the climate that I stepped into. What do you do about that? You keep ramping up the grant game and you try to bring in as many grants. You help your faculty to bring in grants. You look for endowed professorships. You keep that campaign momentum rolling and keep looking for additional donors to help with that. Those are some of the things you do.


I think there was also a sense of uncertainty, so we had Sonny. Sonny was very different from Thayne Dutson. Sonny's a very remarkable individual in his ability to meet and connect with people. If he met you, he remembered you. Very strong skill in that, but he also would commit a lot. He would be telling people this is what we're going to be able to do for you. I couldn't fill all those commitments. There were some challenges there in figuring out how to walk some things back a little bit in terms of, yeah, some promises that were out there. Perceived promises. I wasn't in the conversation, so I don't know what was actually said, but I know what the stakeholders believed. They were pretty clear on what they thought they heard was going to come their way. Those were some challenges that I had to work through. The main thing the College of Ag 01:07:00Sciences-we're so big, we're so diverse it's really just, as one of my colleagues said, you know it's a parade that's moving forward and you just step in as the temporary leader of that parade and you do what you can to climb the quality ladder, to improve the lives of the people that are putting in so much work and working so hard to do their jobs. That's really the way I approach that leadership position. Where are the places I can make a difference? Look to those. Do what I can to keep those going.

CP: Let's talk about a few of the milestones that I was able to uncover at least during these years and one of them certainly was Strand Agriculture Hall.

DA: Yeah. Well, yeah, and again to be fair I had nothing to do with that. That 01:08:00money was set aside years earlier by the legislature. The university was at risk of losing it if they didn't get started on the project. I'm Dean. I'm there engaged in the project now but most of the decisions about how to remodel and what needed to be done had already been made. It was more a matter for me of managing the day-to-day and the original plan was to do half of the building with the other half in the building and with fairly short time, we realized that wasn't going to work. Went to the then, Glen Ford, who was the Vice President for Finance Administration, went to Glen and said, Glen we can't do this.

Of course, the contractors were delighted to hear this because they were trying 01:09:00to tip toe around us while we were in the building. They were well-you guys are raising too much dust. Well, how are we supposed to do our job if we don't raise a little dust? And it's too noisy. Well... so any rate, made the decision. Got us out of there. Got us over to the Business Building because they had just moved into their new building. We were able to go over there for a year. That was really my role in it was helping to managing those person issues that came up. A few little decisions I got to help make with respect to the art that showed up in the hallways and that sort of thing. But the big, the main decisions had already been made. Again, the architects did an amazing job with that building.

In my time, again I've been here 30 years, I watched Strand go from a building that kind of had some prestige to it to a building that nobody wanted. Nobody really wanted to be in Strand. As a result, you had programs in there that took 01:10:00over that space, because nobody else wanted it. It was really, in terms of its location, premium space. But people didn't really care for it. Then Joe Hendricks invests in the Honors College. College of Ag Sciences invested in their offices and suddenly people started to see this differently. It changed from this building that people just didn't care about really. Frankly, didn't care about, to one that people started wanting. They started coveting it. The other thing that happened there was some classroom renovations too. Some classrooms were renovated, and people would come in, wow, these are pretty nice classrooms. When the whole remodel was done I was so pleased with the way it all turned out. I thought they did a marvelous job of fixing the seismic issues and fixing the handicap accessibility was the other major issue that that building 01:11:00had. Yet, maintaining the grandeur of this 100-year-old building. They just did a wonderful job. I was very proud to be working in that building.

CP: Fermentation Science was a success story.

DA: Yeah. Fermentation Science was a lot of fun. Again, some terrific people that work in that program. Brewing in the state of Oregon has just continued to grow and grow and grow and we were able to have the right people to help grow that program. Tom Shellhammer gets a lot of credit for that, of course. But Jeff Clawson too. I always hesitate to mention people because there are so many people that are involved but those are two that get a lot of credit. I was also very proud of the way the food science program built those programs. We were under pressure more so from Enology but to create a separate Viticulture and 01:12:00Enology degree. We always said we're not going to do an Enology degree. What we're going to do is the Food Science degree with a specialization and we'll do that, but we think everybody needs to have that basic food science degree with its chemistry and its physics and its biology that the students need to have. The rationale behind it, and again I think the department was really wise to do it this way, the rational is-you may think you want to brew beer today, because it's your passion and you love it and it's fun but there may come that time when you go you know what this minimum wage job isn't cutting it for me. I want to go and manage a plant or do something else. They will be able to do that because they've got this broader degree and they can carry that broader degree with them.

At any rate, well done. They did a great job. Also did a great job with 01:13:00connecting with the industry. People loved the folks that were coming out. Again, they loved the problems that were being solved by the brewing program. The brewing program was one of those that illustrated the College of Ag Sciences connectivity. It wasn't just the folks making beer it was the barley breeders, so Pat Hayes and his program and if you ever get a chance to talk to Pat you'll come away with a different view of barley. Whatever view you have today, you'll come away with a very different view of barley. Then on the yeast side. So, we hired a new faculty member who comes in and starts working the yeast side of the problem.

Then the hops. We have Shaun Townsend who's a hop breeder and who works in hops. And Shaun worked with a brewer in the Bend area and came up with a new hops that they put into a beer called strata, it's the hops. It's one of those things that 01:14:00surprised the heck out of me. I didn't think there's that much that could be done with hops that you'd get it-you try this beer which is brewed completely with the strata of hops and this is an amazing new taste in beer. Don't get me wrong, it's not totally different but it's a surprise in how that beer tastes and it's a good taste. Yeah, being able to work all those different pieces together in the brewing side. Viticulture and enology the same way. We've got great people working in all aspects of vine production and wine production and connections with the industry. Those are all good.

The wine, of course, was supported by the Oregon Wine Research Institute. This was something that had been started in Sonny's, well, actually it got started with Thayne and then hired the first director, but things weren't working, they 01:15:00just weren't working out very well. Sonny had to make some changes there, so when I stepped in they were director-less and going through a commissioned self-study, let's call it, to-well, what's working and what's not working, why did the initial idea not work out the way we wanted? We spent a lot of time, and the College is still spending time getting that all sorted out. We are, so wine is growing incredibly in this state and we are very proud of the quality of wines that we produce. The simple way that I like to point this out: if you look at Wine Spectator and their 100 top wines, 20 one of them on average will be Oregon wines. Okay, that's only 20%, but California produces 95% of the 01:16:00country's wine. Washington produces 3%. Oregon produces 1% and the rest of the states produce the other 1%. So, for Oregon at 1% of wine to get 20% of the top wines is remarkable and is a reflection on the quality of wines that we're producing. Very proud of that and OSU has a role to play in helping to make that the case.

But figuring out how do we do what California is doing with a much, much, much, much smaller piece of the pie is a challenge. Still continuing to work through that. Oregon wineries are, so, although we're 1% we're also, I think the last number I saw was 700 wineries. A remarkable number of wineries in the state. Each of those is trying to figure out what it's niche. Who am I marketing to? What is my wine? How am I approaching it? Is it my wine club? Am I selling at 01:17:00Costco? What's the model? We throw cheese in that one too. When you think about fermentation sciences, it's also a fermentation. Very successful there as well. Had a number of important donors over the years that have made things happen. Paul Arbuthnot was one who helped with the cheese production facility. Then most recently Tillamook, so Patrick Criteser is the CEO there, helped Tillamook make a big gift to the cheese program, the dairy science program. That will go into some facilities renovation here in the next probably couple of years. They'll be able to get moving on that project. Again, you look out at the industry and see the impact that we have it's really pretty fun. It's a lot of fun.

CP: A couple centers to ask you about. The first is the Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems. This is an Extension project, am I correct about that?


DA: It is an Extension project. It is the best $20,000 I spent as the Dean of College of Ag Sciences. It had been the Rural Small Farms Program, and Gary Stevenson and Lauren Gwin, Gary's the Director and Lauren's the Associate Director of the program had made a pitch to Scott Reed, who was then the Vice Director of Extension and me that they really needed to become a center and if they could get a small infusion of cash this is what they would do with it. We looked at their ambitious plans and their approach and said well, this feels like it's well worth the risk. They did a marvelous job with it and just continued to grow it in the ways that they said they would and build it and it really appeals to a large number of farmers in the state of Oregon. Farming is 01:19:00interesting enterprise. If you look at the food production-the numbers are something in the neighborhood of 80% of the food is produced by 5% of the farmers. It's this inverted situation. But those small farmers have an incredibly important role to play in a lot of different ways. Sometimes they're the pioneers. They're figuring out new ways to do things. They're the ones that are creating the direct marketing approaches. They're the ones whose faces you see on billboards or on menus and so on, but there are a lot of them. Gary and Lauren figured out how to cater to their needs in terms of farming practices but also business practices, so labor practices.

What are the challenges that they have? Small farm, kind of a misinformation, 01:20:00doesn't mean small income. Small farms can have large incomes because on a few acres of highly intensive, very valuable crops, there can be significant income from that area. Again, how do you manage that? What are your markets? How do you deal with food safety issues? That's where that center has been really helpful. They're approach was they don't try to do it all by themselves. They reach out to other parts of the state and have partners, small farms partners, through Extension across the state so they can deal with the more local issues that are going on. Every year they put on a small farms conference and get over 1,000 people to show up to LaSells Stewart Center for their conference. Sometimes they actually have to close registration with that many people. I'm again just really pleased with the work that those two had done.

CP: The other is the Food Innovation Center in Portland.


DA: Yeah, Food Innovation Center. Again, the Food Innovation Center had been there for several years before I came on board. It, like any of these enterprises, it had a little bit of a rocky start and then got straightened out and Mike Morrissey was doing a great job with the program but then decided he was ready to move on so hired Dave Stone to come in and take over that program. It is one of our branch experiment stations, so it's one of those 13, but of course very different from the other ones. They don't grow anything. They help food innovators get their products to market. That's an oversimplification but basically that's what they do. It's the first urban experiment station in the country. An experiment between Thayne Dutson and the then director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The two of them got together and created this idea, 01:22:00this plan, bought this building which is now prime real estate in Portland. It's right on the edge of the Pearl District and started this program and it now has a wonderful reputation for helping get things going. Salt and Straw Ice Cream, we like to point to them as one of the folks we helped.

They can help in a number of different ways. Again, running a small business. What's your business plan? What's your nutrition label? If you're going to sell something, you need a nutrition label. They can do that. Developing the product. In the kitchen, well, let's mix it this way, mix it that way. It's one thing to have the best chocolate chip cookies you've ever had. These are grandma's recipe kind of thing. It's another thing to ask what's the shelf life going to be for that? How do I know the food safety concerns? Issues like that. Another area 01:23:00where they're absolutely remarkable is in food sensory testing. A company wants to know how this particular change, or this new food is going to play. We do a lot of this here in Corvallis, but we're limited to the size of the population here in Corvallis. In Portland, obviously, a much larger number of people signed up. They have several thousand people in their databases. If a food producer wants to know how 35-year-old soccer moms are going to respond to this, they can go out and find you that many 35-year-old soccer moms and bring them in to try it. Or if you want to know how-so on and so forth, right? That's another service that they can provide. They've had some pretty big companies come in and take advantage of that, that opportunity. That's one of the branch experiment stations that we have. But each of those branch experiment stations in their own 01:24:00way are doing terrific work to support their local industries and I don't think we have time, or should take the time, maybe, to go through all of them but we could tell pretty similar stories about all of them. The Food Innovation Center is the most unique. If I look at my center in Hermiston, I can find one in Idaho or Montana that's similar. But the Food Innovation Center when it was started was unique. Yeah, it's a fun story.

CP: How are you able to maintain your connection to those 13 different locations?

DA: Then or now?

CP: Then.

DA: Then. Well, you travel. You get out and visit them. I should have gotten to them more often than I did but I did get out to them. The administrators come to campus. At least once a year we had a workshop and so we could connect that way. 01:25:00We'd often connect in other venues, so there are ways but yeah, it's a challenge. It's a challenge. It's a 13-branch experiment station but it's also the 12 departments and all the other centers and institutes. But yeah, I'd go visit them.

CP: One of the growth areas I think for the college now is hemp.

DA: Yes.

CP: Were there conversations about this in your tenure?

DA: [Laughs] Were there conversations about hemp in my tenure? Absolutely. I'll try and give the condensed story of this, but hemp when I became Dean of the College of Ag Sciences was, and still is, listed as a Schedule 1 drug, so next to marijuana. Marijuana, which contains THC, and hemp, which contains very low, 01:26:00if any levels, of THC, are the same species of plant. They're both cannabis sativa. It's like thinking about a red iris and a purple iris. They're both the same species. They just have different genes expressing different colors in that case, and in the case of marijuana it either expresses the Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the THC, or it doesn't. That's the background. Conversations start about hemp, and we're going back ten years now, probably, about how hemp would be a great product to get going again in Oregon, in the United States. Okay, great, great. Wonderful idea.

Here's all the problems we have with it: we can't touch it. We in the university can't touch it. The state passes resolution saying, no, we want to grow hemp. We think it's okay. We don't care that the feds say you can't grow it. We want to 01:27:00see it growing in the state. Now you've got the state and the feds at odds with each other, and we're caught in the middle. It took the Department of Agriculture quite a while to come up with rules for how to grow it. In the meantime, we're trying to figure out how to do some research on it. To do any research on it at all, we do have to treat it as marijuana. What we have to do is go to the department, the DEA, and ask them for permission to do some research. Okay. So, we get that. Larry Curtis is the one that kind of started that. Jay Noller, who is now the department head of Crop and Soil Science, he's engaged in this process as well. We kind of get moving, get started.

Now the challenge is seed. Hemp has been illegal to grow in the United States, so where do you go for registered seed? For legal seed? You have to go out of the country. There's seed in the country, but we couldn't use it because we 01:28:00couldn't track it to a legal, registered source. So, okay, now we're working on this problem and Jay's working on connections in Germany, Canada, France and trying to figure out how to get a few seeds. Initially, all we wanted to do was put some plants in the ground, so we could grow them and say, yep, they grow and eventually build to the more sophisticated programs dealing with pesticides, which is a huge one that we really wanted to get into-water use, nutritional needs, and then ultimately to move on to extraction. How do you get the oils out? By now it's clear we're not growing this for fiber, we're going this for oil.

Then to make the connections with the College of Pharmacy. These oils, sorry I'm rambling a bit here, but the thing about the CBD oils is there's only currently two places where clinical trials show that they're useful, and that is for two 01:29:00rather rare cases of epilepsy in children. In those two there is no question. The CBC oils really do make a difference. Everything else, there's no clinical support saying yea or nay. We'd love to partner with the College of Pharmacy and start getting into those kinds of work. So, lots and lots and lots of work to do. But we're trying to get seed. We're on the path, we think we're going to be able to get seed and the state realizes there's a seed shortage problem, so in their wisdom they say, well, okay here's what we'll do-we'll let the farmers grow back their seed. What does this mean? Well, very often when you buy seed you make an agreement with the seller of the seed that you won't collect seed for your own use.

Otherwise, what's the incentive for the plant breeder to continue making new varieties if I only get to sell it one year and from then on, I'm going to 01:30:00harvest the seed myself. There are lots of laws covering patents and licensing and so on of the seed, so the state said we're going to tell farmers it's okay to do that. Okay. Good idea. The problem was when they did that Canada said we're not going to sell you seed. Germany said well then, we're not going to sell you seed. France-so all of a sudden, so then the legislature had to get that fixed, which they did. There are many, many challenges. All through this very, very in-depth conversation with legal counsel. What is our footing here? What are we willing to do? What's the risk we're taking? In the meantime, the farm bill-so, every five years the United States rewrites its farm bill which provides the underpinnings for how money will be spent, what it will be used for and so on. The farm bill changed to say that hemp growing would be legal. That's 01:31:00fine. We're okay with it. That's the farm bill. The DEA is still looking at it going, folks, we can't tell it from marijuana, so we stress it's still a schedule 1 drug. Federally it's still in conflict.

Of course, the university is like, well, how much risk are we willing to take here? It continues to get better and better. In the meantime, folks are out there growing hemp. They're putting hemp in the ground and they're growing it and they're making money. They're making lots of money on the hemp. Now we fast forward to this year and there are between 70 and 90,000 acres of hemp in the ground in Oregon. This is remarkable. This is a huge amount when you consider that just a few years ago it was less than 1,000 acres. What's going to happen with all of it? Will it all get harvested? Will it all get extracted? Will it 01:32:00get sold? Where's the industry headed? I don't know, but there's enough potential in the industry that the current Dean, so Alan Sams working with Jay Noller, former department head. Jay stepped out of his role as department head in Crop and Soil Science to now become director of the Hemp Institute at OSU. We are in a, because of all this as I described it, pretty frustrating groundwork that got laid, we're actually in a pretty good place now to help lead the revolution, I guess, in growth of hemp and how hemp can be used. Yeah, hemp is an interesting, interesting story, one of those things when I became Dean if you'd said I'd spent that much time thinking about hemp, I would, no can't be. But I did.


CP: Before we move on, I want to make sure that there's nothing about the Ag Sciences years that I didn't ask you about that you'd want to mention. I'm sure there's plenty.

DA: Well, no, that's it. I mean with a program that large and that diverse there's always some things. I guess one thing I would like to go back to, and that's the legislature. If you look at a 15 or 20-year trend, we're losing ground, but we did have one very good year and we put a package, put a request together and ended up with a nice bump in our budget and we were able to use that to hire a number of new faculty positions. That felt really good to be able to do that. That was two cycles ago, so several of those folks are now entering their third, fourth years of work at OSU. It's really gratifying to see them having that impact on their industry that we'd hoped they would. One of them is 01:34:00a faculty member dealing with slugs. There's been a huge issue with slugs. The thing about slugs is they're all over. They affect so many different agricultural industries and commodities. When we realized how big a deal this was, again, they supported our request from the legislature to hire someone to start working on this problem. Now to see the program that Rory's developed is really very nice.

CP: I'm interested in your interactions with upper administrators-university presidents, provosts. Roy Arnold has come up many times.

DA: Yeah.

CP: I know you're very fond of him. Others that you had a connection with?

DA: Oh, yeah, sure. Several. Certainly Sabah. So, Sabah Randhawa was provost and hired me into both the Dean positions. I will forever be grateful to him for the 01:35:00confidence that he showed in me to be able to do both of those jobs and the support that he provided as well. Sabah was terrific. Let's see, there are so many. I think about Ed Ray. Ed's been here, what, 17 years now. Over half of my 30 years at OSU Ed's been the president. I'd really come to appreciate and in fact be very fond of Ed. He has this audacious leadership. He sets these goals that feel audacious and then you start marching down this path and you get there. The campaign is probably the best example of that, but it's not the only one. Ed's just-so often I appreciated the position he's taken on issues. Ed's 01:36:00also a remarkably compassionate individual. We learned this mostly when we recently lost our son and Ed was there with support and with a letter that we still cherish today. The words that he said. I mean how he could be so right on with what he was able to say to us. It was genuine. This was his handwriting. It wasn't a letter that he had someone write for him. Yeah, I'm an Ed fan. I appreciate everything Ed's done for the university and for Wanda and I. John Byrne, John and Shirley. So, John was president when I started, and I was a 01:37:00young buck. I was just busy doing my thing. John was just up there doing his job. But we had become very close friends and it's interesting the way that happened.

My wife, Wanda, worked at Garfield, which is one of the two bilingual immersion schools in the Corvallis School District. She had a group of friends, several years ago, went to Oaxaca in Mexico where they took some Spanish immersion classes. Improve her Spanish so she could deal better with the parents that were coming in and so on. Had a great experience and got back and we happened to be at a social event. John and Shirley were there, and they were chatting. They were going to go to Oaxaca. Wanda became this fount of information for them, this is what you do, this is how you do it. That was really what catalyzed this friendship and now every time we see him, we just have this wonderful conversation with him. That's John and Shirley.


Tim White had just become, I'm trying to remember, I'm not sure if he was president. I think he had just moved to the president role when I was in a bike accident. The car won. He was the first one on the scene. I was okay, but I was sort of lying there on the street. He comes over and says, oh, Dan, don't worry. The ambulance has been called. By the way, congratulations on your distinguished professor award [laughs]. That was Tim. Tim as Provost he figured out he could tap me for Oregon Faculty of Science when it was OSU's turn to host that. Dan you can do that, right? Yeah, sure. Yeah, I enjoyed working with Tim. I didn't know Paul Risser all that well. I mean so many. I really connected with Glen 01:39:00Ford. We connected at what we both describe as the worst event we ever attended. It was not an OSU event, but it reminded us how well OSU does almost all of its events. It was totally different. Steve Clark. Steve and I became good buddies at Honors College. We were working through all sorts of things together. Stayed good buddies and connected. He's helped me out in one of my classes. Again, I should stop saying names because there are so many. But those are a few of the folks at the top roles.

I really enjoyed working with the other Deans. When I left, we had a group of really, really cohesive group of Deans. We respected each other and looked out 01:40:00for each other. Not that we weren't competitive, we were, but, again, I hesitate to name names there. Really all of them were fun to work with, a pleasure to work with, and respectful of each other. It was a good group of Deans.

CP: How did you make the decision to retire?

DA: Well, I think there were a number of factors that entered into it. I would be dishonest if I didn't say legislative cycle was one of them. I found that very challenging and not, I mean, I managed it. I did okay. Like I said, we had some really good years, but it was tough. Part of it is that it's just so totally opposite from science. Did you know in legislative cycles you don't get 01:41:00to do an experiment and see what the outcome is? You do what you can to build support but so much of what happens in the legislature happens in the hallways and behind closed doors. It's deal making. That's the process, but it's not one that I'm really very comfortable with. I didn't really want to go through another legislative session. I'd been at it for at that point six, going on seven years. That's a pretty good cycle for a Dean role. I'd been Dean for ten years at that point, because I had the four years of Honors College as well. That's a pretty good amount of time to be Dean. If you're staying in there longer than that, then you got to start asking yourself am I able to put the energy in to continue to innovate and do new things or am I just turning the crank? I didn't want to get to that point. I didn't want to be doing that.


Also, by that time I didn't have a research lab to go back to. We didn't talk specifically about that. When I became Dean of the College of Ag Sciences I had to make the decision not to do research anymore, because I knew this was going to be an all-involving job, and it was. Louis Sayavedra-Soto, the individual that I mentioned earlier, I said Louis this is your lab now. You do what you want with it. You make it work. He did for six years until he retired last year. I didn't have that to go back to. I had been the Dean sitting in the back of the faculty meeting in a Botany and Plant Pathology faculty meeting. It's not a good place to be. It's just not. I didn't want to be that person either.

I enjoy teaching and I could've earned my keep teaching, but I really wanted to 01:43:00be in control of my time and so made that decision to retire. It seemed like the right time to do it. I also had grandkids that entered the picture, so I wanted to be able to spend time with them. My wife was retired. Lots of good reasons to make it then. I knew that I would come back and still stay engaged in the university. I mentioned the two Honors College courses that I've taught. An employment opportunity came up. I'm actually going back to work January 1st. I'm going to be the director of the Ag Research Foundation. It's a half-time position but it's one that I'm really looking forward to. It's a good organization. It does a lot of good work managing money for agricultural research. Looking forward to that. That will keep me engaged as well. I think 01:44:00when I made the decision to retire, I wasn't too concerned about finding things to do. I knew there would be opportunities out there. I have enough outside interests, so I can keep myself occupied with those. But I mean it wasn't easy. It's never easy to make that-at least it wasn't for me-to make that decision to retire. But I have no regrets. It was the right decision. It was the right time, and I've been so fortunate to be able to serve in so many different roles while at Oregon State University.

CP: A couple of concluding questions, and the first is about the Land Grant mission. It's been fundamental to OSU since its beginning. The College of Ag Sciences, I'm sure, is connected to it more so than the rest of the university. Where do you see that mission at these days?

DA: It's hard to answer that without getting into a little bit of the history. 01:45:00So, we're a 150-year-old institution. The Land Grant is 155. It took us five years to figure out how to-and that's an interesting story in its own right as to how it ended up here in Corvallis. At that time, 70% of the folks were on the farm. It really was designed to help provide an opportunity to educate the general population, hence the people's university. That really is the mission. Those are the two words that we just have to keep carrying into the future. People's university. That's who we are. That's what we do. Agriculture was key. They called it mechanical arts at that time, were key. The liberal arts were there as well. People tend to forget that, but even then, the realization that if you want to be successful and really complete in your education you need that liberal arts education as well. It started to evolve and started to become more 01:46:00of a-so the Land Grant mission started to change. Not change, but evolve, develop. It's interesting-started out with this idea, we'll give you some of the federally owned land to start a college. Okay. They got that part done, but it was 25 years later, they say, well yeah, you're supposed to be solving problems for these farmers and so we need the experiment station. Now we develop the experiment station. And so, okay, but now you're getting the research done in the universities, how's it getting to the farmers.

So, it was 25 years after that that the Extension Service was developed. Of course, some other key things happened in there as well, but it took 50 years to get the structural pieces laid down for what we now think of as the, or take for granted as the Land Grant university. It's incredibly important to the development of the College of Ag Sciences. We were there at the beginning and 01:47:00remain a strong, vital part of the university. But in that 150 years the rest of the university has continued to grow up and grow around us and, in some ways, do I dare say this? My colleagues aren't in the room-catch up with Ag Sciences. So, the research enterprise that several of the other colleges have now is marvelous. It's just marvelous what's happening in the other colleges. We continue to see this growth of this comprehensive university but always with this sense of we are the people's university. We are connected to not just the students but also the state. The state is our campus and we are the state's campus. Those are words, but they have real meaning. I mean, they really play out. That's why when the new logo came out: "We're out there," it worked for us. 01:48:00That describes what we do. We're out there all the time. That Land Grant mission. I'm a Land Grant kid. All of my educational experiences with the exception of the postdoc in Germany were all in Land Grant universities. Again, it went even before that because I was a 4-H kid, and so I was really dealing with the Land Grant heritage before I knew there was a Land Grant heritage.

I mean I suppose then the next question is what's the future then of the Land Grant mission, or the Land Grant university. Where are we headed with it? I think it's to continue on this path of meeting the needs of the people of the state. I think in an educational world I think what that means is figuring out 01:49:00how to provide personalized education. That's no question easier said than done, but it's the idea that you don't necessarily have to get all of your education coming to one place, staying there for four years and getting your degree and then moving on. We need to figure out how to let people get their education from a variety of places in a variety of ways, including if this is online as well as on-campus, but it's also let's work out deals with other universities so that you can get some training over here and apply it to just an overall degree. Business training, this idea of credentialing. I've already done this work in the industry, why should I come back and take the classes to learn how to do what I already do? That's credentialing. That's a component of it as well. Then put together these resumes, these personalized education plans and list of accomplishments that aren't necessarily going to be all about a degree.


Right now, we're largely focused on let's get a degree. I think it's going to become more about what are your accomplishments? The courses that you've taken. The training you've had. But what are all the pieces together? I think in the information era, I think that it will become possible for employers now to come in and assess that, not just assess oh you have a degree in mechanical engineering so you should be able to do this job but rather to look more deeply at what you've done and go oh yeah, you don't even have a degree in mechanical engineering. I don't really care because you have all these other pieces that I need. Of these 18 pieces, ten of them were provided by Oregon State University but eight came from someplace else. That's okay. We have to be comfortable with that and figure out how to be a part of that world. It's really just an extension of what's already happening. We already have students coming in with 01:51:00advanced placement courses, transferring from community college where they already have two years, coming in from other, transferring from other colleges, going off for the summer and picking up a summer research experience someplace else. How do we put all these pieces together in a way that's meaningful and provides the credentialing that industry needs and that employers need? [Laughs] That's where we're headed.

CP: Well, you anticipated my last question to be asked.

DA: Okay [laughs].

CP: Thank you very much, Dan, this has been terrific. I really appreciate it.

DA: Thanks. It's my pleasure.