Tarleton dean to head national task force
Dr. Don Cawthon, dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Tarleton State University, will chair a U.S. Department of Agriculture task force focusing on the development of a national higher education plan supporting the president's bioenergy initiative.
"I have the opportunity to work with approximately 25 leaders from across the nation to accomplish our tasks," Cawthon said. "Our goal is to complete our work by September 2010. It is exciting to have the opportunity to chart America's future in bioenergy and agriculture education."
In an effort to meet President Bush's energy initiative, the task force is charged with developing a higher education plan that achieves the following:
--Triple the number of students in college and university based bioenergy and bioeconomy education programs.
--Insure a large proportion of high school students are aware of and take action on bioenergy concepts as well as agriculture and natural resource's roles in developing the country's future energy.
--Develop expertise to implement Cooperative Extension energy programs across the United States.
The task force will also include developing a roadmap detailing educational activities that will lead to careers in bioenergy and the bioeconomy, assessment and projection of workforce needs, coordination of kindergarten through college-level educational programs to develop national-scale centers of research and education. It will also focus on developing the framework through which grants, assistantships and internships can be made available to college students who pursue majors in bioenergy.
"Not only is securing the nation's food supply critical to this country, but also securing America's energy future is among the most important challenges and agriculture will play an important role," Cawthon said.