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Horticulture: Department Information

Prospectus for the Department of Horticulture


Adopted 1/31/01


The mission of the Horticulture Department is to develop and disseminate new knowledge leading to the improvement and facilitation of cost-effective and profitable production, post harvest handling, and utilization of horticultural commodities and services in a concerted effort to conserve natural resources while protecting and enhancing the environment.



The department is a world-renowned center for horticulture knowledge with highly relevant programs that emphasize environmental stewardship. Excellence in programming exists throughout all teaching, research, extension and outreach thrusts.

The integration of focused and aggressive individual programs creates an atmosphere of mutual support and harmony. Programs are allowed to evolve in a milieu of complete administrative support. A competent, dedicated, and enthusiastic faculty and staff work cooperatively with a unified mission in an environment that is fun.



The clients or customers of the department are many and varied. We develop our programs to meet the needs of our client / customer base. They include (not in priority order):

  • Alumni
  • Citizens of the state of Georgia
  • Civic groups
  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Administration
  • County agents
  • Funding organizations
  • General public
  • Government agencies
  • Growers / Industries
  • International agencies
  • K-12 students
  • Lawyers
  • Master Gardeners
  • Members of the media
  • Other scientists (peers) (both external and internal)
  • Parents of our students
  • Plant societies / Garden clubs
  • Politicians
  • Professional societies
  • Students (graduate and undergraduate)
  • Trade associations
  • World horticulture community



Strengths / Advantages : The department has many strengths and assets. In designing programs, we should draw on strengths to maximize our efficiency. These strengths include:

  • Faculty diversity (diversity in expertise, culture, experience, and program areas)
  • High - quality faculty with excellent reputations
  • Cooperative faculty (both internal and external to the department)
  • Positive attitude of faculty
  • Strong industry / commodity group support (strong, supportive, demanding, appreciative)
  • Notoriety of publications
  • Good technical (personnel) support
  • Excellence of teaching programs (specifically the undergraduate and extension programs)
  • Excellence of extension programs
  • Excellence of research programs
  • Freedom to develop individual programs
  • Geographically dispersed faculty and facilities
  • Excellent State support
  • Good facilities including research and extension branch stations, the State Botanical Garden, libraries, and field facilities
  • Department head (young, enthusiastic, supportive)
  • Good equipment / technology
  • Strong public support for horticulture in Georgia

Weaknesses / Limitations : A number of deficiencies exist or are perceived to exist. This list offers challenges that we may choose to address in order to strengthen our department:

  • Faculty interaction and attitude need improvement
  • Communications within the department are insufficient
  • Many facilities such as classrooms, greenhouses, and laboratories are inadequate
  • Curriculum and student support should be increased, especially at the graduate level
  • Lack of departmental direction / structure is sensed
  • Insufficient technical support (specifically for extension programs; generally for office support)
  • Limiting finances including low pay scale for technicians, graduate students, faculty and staff; lack of endowments
  • Cumbersome purchasing procedures
  • Insufficient number of faculty
  • Physical and geographic separation of faculty
  • Lack of computer technology support
  • Lack of administrative support for specific needs such as grant writing assistance, support for consulting activities, and teaching facilities

Opportunities : The department has a number of opportunities and challenges which, if addressed and exploited properly, will result in its preeminence among horticulture departments and centers in the world. These include:

  • The importance and growth of horticulture in Georgia are both increasing
  • Enhancement of teaching programs is possible
  • Expand use of information technology
  • Industry interaction and support could be increased
  • Cooperative efforts could be expanded
  • Marketing ourselves
  • Environmental issues
  • Information and product needs for consumers
  • Administration can assist
  • Changing demographics
  • Funding opportunities could be explored
  • New buildings (facilities)
  • New crops
  • Branch station utilization could be increased
  • Genomics

Threats : A number of external (to the department) threats to the progress of the department exist. Although we lack the ability to remedy threats, we can position ourselves to minimize any negative effects they may have on our department. These threats include:

  • Administrative decisions that may be unfavorable to horticulture
  • Political decisions / legislation may have detrimental impacts on horticulture in Georgia
  • Government regulations may affect horticulture industries
  • Funding erosion
  • Poor perception of agriculture in general by the public
  • Water issues / concerns will affect horticulture
  • Declining student numbers in agriculture
  • Uncontrollable / changing environmental factors
  • Misinformation (to general public, policy groups, legislators, etc.)
  • Social issues such as urbanization, labor shortages, and increased production costs
  • Marketing issues such as foreign competition, changing markets
  • External competition to the Department (offering the services we offer)



The following issues were identified as main areas that need our immediate attention.

1.0 Enhance our teaching programs

2.0 Improve our technological capacity

3.0 Establish a marketing strategy for our department

4.0 Acquire new facilities at the Athens Campus

5.0 Increase departmental communications



The following goals and implementation steps have been developed to address the five high priority issues identified above. A time line of three years from plan adoption (31 January 2001) has been established to implement these steps.

1.1 Identify potential new undergraduate courses

a. New 1000 level course to increase contact hours and recruit students
b. New landscape and design classes to be taught by new Residential Design position

1.2 Seek input to improve undergraduate curriculum

a. Teaching faculty meet to consider changes - additions and deletions
b. Survey industry to assess needs
c. Survey alumni to assess needs
d. Department head interviews with graduating seniors
e. Department head conducts annual instructor observations

1.3 Recruit more students

a. Prompt CAES administration to interact with guidance counselors
b. Prompt CAES administration to interact with science teachers
c. Increase number of service courses such as 1000 level introduction to horticulture
d. Expand recruitment portions of departmental web page

1.4 Increase use of Web CT courses

a. New computer person would assist professors and help load information; solicit assistance from consultants at independent studies office

1.5 Develop new internet courses to attract more students

a. Develop HORT 3010 (Intro vegetable) course for internet

1.6 Identify potential new graduate courses

a. Use Tifton and Griffin as well as Athens faculty to teach short five-week courses (2.5 hr classes one day per week); minimum of twelve topics; examples include:

Cold hardiness
Research Methods I (Experimental Design)
Research Methods II (Regression Analysis)
Plant Breeding
Soil and Plant Analysis Techniques
Heat Stress
Advanced Tissue Culture
Physiology of Woody Plants
Environmental Issues

b. Explore development of a summer transient course to expose graduate students to many aspects of horticulture throughout the state

1.7 Increase number of graduate assistantships

a. Solicit funding for assistantships from commodities
b. Request additional assistantship funds from Administration

1.8 Develop a Masters of Professional Studies

a. Provide additional degrees and training for County Agents

2.1 In-house computer support is the most pressing technology need for the department. Ideally one person would be housed in Athens to serve the on-campus faculty and one would be housed at the RDC in Tifton to serve the needs of faculty in Tifton, Griffin, and outlying areas. The computer support specialists would assist faculty in various projects including: digital processing of slides and video clips, preparation and publication of material for web pages, data collection and entry, and preparation of computer generated presentations. This person/s would also be responsible for training of support personnel at outlying locations.

a. Establish funding for the positions and equipment needed for the job
b. Develop job description and conduct interviews
c. Hire the most qualified applicants

2.2 Obtain the technology necessary for the development and presentation of digital talks. This would include a computer projector, laptop computer, and high-resolution digital camera for each location.

a. Purchase needed projectors, cameras, and computers
b. Establish a protocol for use of the equipment at each site
c. Conduct training on slide show development and presentation

2.3 Obtain technology for automated slide scanning to facilitate the transition from photographic slides to digital slides. Ideally this scanner should be able to scan multiple slides at the same time.

a. Research the available scanners and determine the best equipment for this process
b. Purchase the needed scanner
c. Establish a protocol for training and use of the equipment at the various locations

2.4 Make more frequent use of electronic communication through the broadcast of seminars

a. Determine the availability of GSAMS at set times for seminar broadcast
b. Determine the interest of off-site faculty in viewing seminars, i.e., allow them to specify which seminars they would like scheduled for their GSAMS location
c. Determine the interest of presenters in having their seminars presented through GSAMS
d. Match the availability and interest in GSAMS so that at least a portion of the seminars are broadcast to outlying stations

3.1 Update and improve the department of horticulture web site

a. Page of web site to include updates on teaching, research and extension programs. Annual report of accomplishments should also be on the site
b. Expand the section that discusses careers in horticulture and highlight some successful alumni
c. Possible majors, required courses and electives to earn degree should be linked to University course descriptions
d. Section on graduate student assistantship opportunities. Listing of graduate students and their research projects - major professors
e. Link to industry and consumer publications available from the department
f. Expand the page on UGA Hort. Club and its activities
g. Develop a link to CAES calendar announcing upcoming departmental and industry events
h. Increase the number of links to professional, trade associations throughout the state, botanical gardens, Master Gardener Association and plant societies
i. Encourage faculty to link their individual pages to the department web pages

3.2 Develop an annual report from the Department, perhaps titled "Highlights of Horticulture" that lists some of the major accomplishments of the department (i.e. outstanding research and its relevance to various audience groups, unique teaching programs or outstanding extension efforts, awards of faculty and students)

a. Focus on the impact the department is having
b. Available in hard copy and electronically; distribute widely

3.3 Market faculty via award nominations and ASHS newsletter

a. Submit faculty for various award nominations as they are announced
b. Announce faculty accomplishments in ASHS newsletter on a regular basis

3.4 Update the portable exhibit on careers in horticulture and majors at UGA

a. For use in trade shows throughout the state and region
b. Produce several copies for use by county extension agents at career days in high schools

3.5 Develop a poster on careers in horticulture and possible majors at UGA

a. Send to all high schools/two-year universities and tech schools across the state for posting for students
b. Tear-offs attached to poster that a student can take; tells who to contact for additional information.

3.6 Form an industry advisory committee (Georgia Horticultural Trade Alliance?)

a. Representation from all horticulture commodity groups
b. Meet annually - possible barbecue with all faculty present
c. Department Head update group on facilities, new hires, retirements, grants, special programs, awards, etc. with time reserved for feedback from group

3.7 Work more closely with ECT in promoting research, teaching and extension programs and commodity groups

a. Feature articles on selected faculty and their research, teaching or extension programs. Relate impact/significance of work and relevance to consumers
b. TV segments featuring something happening in horticulture - i.e. watermelon harvest, carrot harvest, shipping ornamental plants, packing apples or peaches - interview faculty member discussing process

3.8 Establish an aggressive capital campaign with various categories of giving for various purposes (i.e. building fund for new building)

a. Promote the McHatton Horticulture Endowment Fund to which persons can bequeath assets or contribute toward to honor loved ones; name laboratories, plazas, arbors, gardens after donors
b. Work with College and University Foundation offices to develop campaign plan

4.1 Visit or phone conference with two or three departments in the US that are in various stages of obtaining new facilities to determine if, when and how they obtained "needs consensus"

a. Determine problems and pitfalls, and assess outcomes from each effort
b. Amend the process described below to adjust for potential pitfalls

4.2 Determine facility requirements and how they fit into our vision and mission

a. Develop a comprehensive assessment of physical structure requirements, program needs and technology requirements through a survey form given to each faculty member, including those not housed in Athens who might benefit from access to such technology
b. Include the students and graduate students through a peer-driven process, generating their own report
c. Establish a list of "shared technology" that would be available to all faculty in the department
d. Develop justification statements for each group of resources requested
e . Develop expected outcomes and impacts from above resources

4.3 Provide, for the department head to work on during the concept phase of the building process, a clean "document of industry and faculty consensus" outlining space requests, equipment needs, technological supports, and the justifications for each component by end of fiscal 2001. The final document would be shared with the department planning committee and university architects.

5.1 Develop a short concise quarterly newsletter to faculty and staff, printed or electronic.

a. Should probably originate from department head's office with perhaps "assistant editors" at Tifton and Griffin
b. Should contain not only professional news (awards, grants, etc.) but also personal news (births, marriages, deaths, etc.)

5.2 Use more effective communications channels

a. Schedule more frequent 2-3 day all-department meetings --more than once a year - to promote socialization and better understanding
b. Utilize more frequent personal (face-to-face/phone) contact between faculty and department head and REI/extension coordinators
c. Don't overuse e-mail; personal interaction is necessary to follow up
d. Attempt more timely notification of meetings, due dates, etc.
e. Need clearer definition of departmental chain of command (i.e. explain the role of the REIs)
f. Allow faculty time to make presentations at retreats and other meetings

5.3 House Extension, Research and Teaching together when possible

5.4 Provide more opportunities for guest lecturers to classes using faculty from other locations

5.5 Increase social interaction between faculty at their location and other campuses

a. Departmental 'fun meetings' and activities with a few seminars presented by faculty

5.6 Currently no interaction between staff from one campus to another. Increase communications between staff and faculty and staff and staff

a. Departmental secretaries retreat -- perhaps with a combination of fun activities and some specialized training. Could be held annually.
b. Need more incentive such as staff recognition awards within the department
c. Establish a departmental staff appreciation day and luncheon once a year at each campus
d. Develop a staff section on the departmental horticultural web site listing job opportunities, promotions/transfers, personal items (illness, births, etc.).


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