New leadership for Farm and Industry Short Course

The CALS Farm and Industry Short Course will undergo a change in leadership at the end of the fall term. Ted Halbach will step down as the director of the program to return to department of dairy science, where he will serve as an instructor and help develop new Educational Innovation initiatives.

Dick Cates, a senior lecturer in the soil science department, will take over as interim director of FISC effective January 1. Halbach and Cates will work together during the remainder of the fall term to allow for a smooth transition.

Cates currently directs the college’s Grazing Systems Programming Initiative and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, which is offered through FISC. He co-teaches pasture-based dairy and livestock seminar and a pasture management course in FISC. He recently developed a managed grazing field course in the regular CALS curriculum, and co-teaches courses in grassland ecology and an agroecology field course. He received the FISC Service to Agriculture Award in 2012 as well as the FISC J.S. Donald Excellence in Teaching award in 2004.

Halbach has served as FISC director since 2008. The program’s enrollment grew to 135 during his tenure. Halbach oversaw an upgrade of the program facilities, launched a new tutoring program and worked with a task force appointed to review the program and make recommendations related to the program’s administrative structure, business model and curriculum. FISC introduced several new courses as a result of that study.

“The short course is an important part of CALS,” says Dean Kate VandenBosch. “It has played an important role in the university’s research, teaching and outreach missions, beginning before the college itself was established.  I look forward to working with faculty, instructors, students and staff to continue to evolve and develop programs to stay current with the changing needs of our industry partners.”

Dean VandenBosch plans to launch a search for a new full-time director in the spring term, with the goal of filling the position by July 1.