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College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Dean’s Monthly Newsletter // July 2020
Month in Review

I hope you enjoyed a great Fourth of July. It is always important to take time for family, and to reflect and rejuvenate – especially right now!

This has been a spring and summer of innovation in our college. We continue to creatively serve our mission areas, meeting our strategic priorities through new methods and means. For example, virtually hosting Summer Welcome. And, identifying and preparing socially distanced spaces in our college to keep larger classes in-person rather than online for the fall. Thank you to the faculty and staff who’ve worked hard to make all of this happen! We are dedicated to providing our students with as many in-person courses as we can, given the social distancing restrictions.

As a result of the pandemic, Agricultural Research Center Field Days are also going mostly virtual this year. Our researchers and superintendents are working to provide a robust and meaningful slate of virtual talks for landowners and producers to learn about the research and demonstrations happening across the state.

I hope you will plan to join me for the upcoming CAFNR Zoom Hall meetings. Please send your questions in advance to Time permitting, I will gladly take questions at the end of the meeting. Please watch your email for the Zoom link to register!

  • Faculty – 2 p.m., Thursday, August 6
  • Staff – 2 p.m., Friday, August 7

You likely heard that the traditional Missouri State Fair has pivoted to a youth livestock show. I will miss the opportunity to visit with our alumni, stakeholders and friends in August, but appreciate the commitment to health and safety of Missourians through limiting crowds at the fairgrounds. I am pleased that the youth will still have a chance to exhibit their livestock and be part of this unique ag education experience.

PLEASE NOTE! Our CAFNR 150th celebration weekend, previously scheduled for October, has been postponed. Nevertheless, we will continue to celebrate our sesquicentennial at every CAFNR function throughout the fall!

As you prepare for the fall 2020 semester, please familiarize yourself with Mizzou’s Show Me Renewal website and the supplemental page on MyCAFNR. These sites provide guidelines, resources, FAQs and much more to help in keeping us safe and healthy as we navigate our campus this fall!

I appreciate all of you, and your dedication to our shared missions of teaching, research and Extension.

CAFNR Proud!

Christopher R. Daubert, Ph.D.
CAFNR Vice Chancellor & Dean


Thrilled to have three of the 10 awards at Mizzou given to @cafnr professors! I’m #CAFNRproud of our faculty’s work, leadership and success on our #DrivetoDistinction.

3:58 PM - Jul 7, 2020
Tiger Roars!

Charles Nilon, professor of urban wildlife management in the School of Natural Resources, was recently named the newest holder of the William J. Rucker Professorship in Fisheries and Wildlife. From its inception in 1944, the William J. Rucker Professorship in Fisheries and Wildlife’s purpose has been for the “instruction of youth upon the subject of the value and preservation of wild life.” Funds are used primarily to support graduate research assistant stipends.

Nilon has been a faculty member in SNR since June 1989. His research focuses on urban wildlife conservation and urban ecology, human dimensions of wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. Since 1997, Nilon has been a co-principal investigator on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), one of two urban ecosystems included in the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research program. He and his students study how ecological and socioeconomic factors influence wildlife species composition and abundance. Since 2010, Nilon has been a principal investigator on three different synthesis projects that are compiling data from more than 150 of the world’s cities. The projects seek to understand global patterns of biodiversity in cities, the filters that shape species composition in cities, and the social and ecological factors that shape patterns of abundance in cities, and apply that information to management, conservation and planning programs. He is a co-investigator on MU’s THRIVE Project which seeks to develop a culture of inclusive excellence in the natural sciences.

Each year, the UM System President’s Awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four universities of the UM System. These highly competitive awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the University. This year, the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources had three faculty members earn President’s Awards: Thomas Spencer, Chung-Ho Lin and Randall Miles.

Thomas Spencer, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences, received the 2020 President’s Award for Sustained Career Excellence from the UM System. This award recognizes faculty for distinguished career-long, sustained excellence in scholarship, research or creativity, for a period of 15 or more years.

Chung-Ho Lin, associate research professor in the School of Natural Resources, received the 2020 President’s Award for Economic Development from the UM System. This award recognizes faculty for distinguished activity in meeting the University of Missouri’s goal of serving as an economic engine for the state and its citizens. Awardees demonstrate entrepreneurial innovation in using the classroom, outreach programs or the laboratory as vehicles for increasing or developing new economic activity in the state.

Randall Miles, associate professor emeritus of soil science in the School of Natural Resources, received the 2020 Thomas Jefferson Award as part of the UM System President’s Awards. The Thomas Jefferson Award is reserved for faculty who rise above excellence and demonstrate clear distinction, not only in their career, but also in service to the University of Missouri and humankind.

Of Note

The Deaton Scholars Program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2020 cohort, which will be held primarily online. Please encourage interested students to apply by Aug. 28. As the flagship student arm of the Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development, the Deaton Scholars Program is a student-run interdisciplinary program designed to equip students with the tools to make a tangible difference on food insecurity, extreme poverty, and malnutrition in the world around them. Please see the application information online: