Donald R. Viands was named the new associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and director of the school’s Office of Academic Programs, taking over responsibilities from H. Dean Stupin.
Stupin left Cornell in December to take a position at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. Viands’ appointment, which became effective Jan. 1, includes the administration of curriculum, counseling and advising programs and career development.
His expertise is in the field of alfalfa breeding and genetic legume research.
Viands, who teaches a graduate-level course in the department of plant breeding in alternating years, does not see himself leaving the classroom any time soon.
He says that he has “a love for interacting with students,” which is what drew him to get involved in curriculum planning. Viands became an undergraduate advisor soon after joining the Cornell faculty.
“I really enjoyed mapping out course curriculum,” Viands said. “I thought the challenge would be interesting.”
One of the first tasks Viands has been given by Susan A. Henry, dean of CALS, is to “review curriculum in the college from a more birds-eye perspective,” Viands said.
This comes after a detailed 1998-2000 review of curriculum, in which Viands participated. By looking at current curriculum and comparing it to the future career needs of students, Viands hopes to continue to enhance the opportunities for undergraduate research and internship involvement.
In order to improve faculty development, Viands will work on implementing a program of short workshops throughout the semester, in addition to summer workshops already established. This will ensure that contact between faculty and administrators stays clear and constant.
Viands still has quite a bit of one-on-one contact with students, despite the increase in administrative duties.
“I see students in my office when they come to the office of academic programs or for individual academic counseling,” Viands said.
Since he began working in an administrative capacity seven and a half years ago, Viands has been involved in less hands-on research.
Despite less research, Viands is still excited about the future of his career and the Office of Academic Programs. “The people who work here really are fantastic,” he said. “They care a tremendous amount about the students.”
Archived article by Melissa Korn