Colorado State President to Address Innovation, Leadership in Agricultural Community in Costa Rica March 6

Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley will lead a presentation about the university’s leadership role in addressing the needs of agriculture and rural communities in the 21st-century at the fifth annual international conference of the Global Consortium for Higher Education and Research for Agriculture in Costa Rica March 5-8.

Penley and Lou Swanson, vice provost for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships at Colorado State, will speak March 6 about "Innovation and Leadership for Relevant Change in Agriculture" at the conference at EARTH University, an agricultural university near San Jose, Costa Rica. Several hundred higher-education leaders from around the world are expected to attend the conference sponsored by the Global Consortium, an international alliance focused on agricultural education that is made up of some of the world’s leading agricultural educators and representatives from such groups as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"Rural communities, now more than ever, depend on university resources as globalization creates new competitors, consolidation and cost-cutting drain agricultural and manufacturing employment bases, and rural regions fall behind metropolitan areas in terms of growth, innovation and the ability to retain a younger population," Penley said.

Penley announced a major administrative reorganization in November 2005 to enable the university to set the standard as the 21st-century land-grant university and to reach out more effectively to the state’s rural and urban populations. The reorganization grew out of an aggressive strategic plan that strengthens the university’s ability to achieve excellence in the areas of teaching and learning, retention and graduation, admissions and access, outreach and service, and marketing.

As part of that reorganization, Colorado State’s Office of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships was created to bring together seven campus outreach agencies and institutes, including Extension, Continuing Education, the Office of Economic Development, the Office of International Programs and the Water Resources Research Institute. The new office fosters collaboration and creates new programmatic synergies on and off the Fort Collins campus.

The aim of the reorganization has been to improve the university’s outreach to all of Colorado in coordination with the university’s strategic plan, which also emphasizes scientific discovery and public policy research into such critical areas as water resources for the West. Other universities are now looking at the Colorado State model, which is why Penley and Swanson were invited to discuss it at the international conference.

"This reorganization builds upon the university’s historic commitment to improving the quality of life for all Coloradans," Penley said.