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Thursday, July 10, 2014

President's Column: Quality, Mutual Mentoring, and the AAEA Culture of Engagement

I began my term as President thinking and writing about how we, as professionals and as a professional association, define and certify the quality of our work as agricultural and applied economists. I noted that in our work in academia, government, and the private and non-profit sectors, we face common questions about quality standards, certification to those standards, and communicating about quality among ourselves and with others. As my term as President draws to a close, I believe these issues continue to be at the heart of how AAEA serves you, our members, and society. The AAEA Board’s on-going strategic planning is focused on supporting high quality work through communicating our work out through multiple outlets; innovating with our annual meeting, stand-alone symposia, and other AAEA events; and supporting mentoring programs.

Our association is built on a foundation of mutual mentoring and a culture of engagement. At my home institution, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, our Center for Teaching and Faculty Development describes the Mutual Mentoring approach as recognizing that individuals will need and want mentorship from a network of mentors, each of whom has specific strengths to offer in terms of perspective and advice. The mutual mentoring approach also recognizes that mentoring is rarely one-way; the mentor learns from the mentee as well as vice versa, making for a mentoring partnership. Importantly, an individual’s mentoring network can be significantly strengthened through mutual mentoring relationships with others who are at a similar career stage be it, for example, undergraduate or graduate student, assistant professor, new researcher at a government agency, associate or full professor, or new chair or branch chief. Each of these career stages demands the development of new abilities by us as individuals. As your professional organization, AAEA through its members and staff provides platforms for effective mutual mentoring to take place, with a special emphasis on early career professionals. Strengthening and building opportunities for mutual mentoring is in my view a key direction for AAEA in the next years.

Mutual mentoring is also a major component of the AAEA’s Culture of Engagement. Our upcoming annual meeting in Minneapolis embodies this high level of engagement with plenary sessions, invited papers, symposia, presented papers, posters, Section Tracks, and undergraduate and graduate competitions where you and your colleagues will be presenting your work and receiving direct feedback that supports the quality of your work. And no doubt that mutual mentoring will extend to conversations during coffee breaks, receptions, and other opportunities to meet and exchange ideas. I look forward to meeting and talking with you in Minneapolis! I also look forward to welcoming Jill McCluskey as President-Elect taking office at this meeting and David Just and Holly Wang who will be taking office as Directors.

The Culture of Engagement is supported by the very high quality of involvement of AAEA members in all aspects of AAEA’s work. I thank the Committee Chairs and Members who agreed to take on important roles in guiding the association this year and the Leadership of the Sections, all of whom served so well. I also thank our AAEA staff Brian Mondrag√≥n Jones (Executive Director), Sarah Kenner, Kristen Wright, Anna Douangphachanh, and Angela Ludwig for their dedicated and very effective management of the AAEA.

And, finally, our association has benefitted greatly from the service of Richard Sexton (Past-President), Jayson Lusk (Director), and Dawn Thilmany McFadden (Director) over the last three years. Thank you for your commitment to the AAEA’s Culture of Engagement.

See you all in Minneapolis!

Julie Caswell
AAEA President

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gail L. Cramer Appreciation Club to be Chartered in Minneapolis

The AAEA Trust is pleased to announce that the Gail L. Cramer Appreciation Club has successfully raised the $12,500 in donations necessary to have the Club officially chartered at the 2014 AAEA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. Thanks to the efforts of the appreciation club donors and co-organizers, members will be able to show their respect for the work that Dr. Cramer has done to advance the profession, by contributing to the Gail L. Cramer Appreciation Club.

During the AAEA Awards & Fellows Recognition Ceremony on Monday, July 28, Dr. Cramer will be presented with a calligraphic plaque that celebrates the official chartering of the Club in his honor.

To donate to the Gail L. Cramer Appreciation Club, please contact the AAEA Business Office (

AAEA/AARES Heading South Award Call for Applications

We are pleased to invite submissions for the 2014 Heading South Award.

The Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society(AARES) and the Agricultural &Applied Economics Association (AAEA) through the AAEA Trust will jointly offer this travel award to attend the 2015 AARES Conference in Rotorua, New Zealand. It is available to members of AARES or AAEA normally resident in North America. Applicants for the award can be a member of either AARES or AAEA but must be a member of AARES to participate in the conference.
The objective of the award is to provide the winner with an opportunity for professional and personal development and international professional and cultural exchange. The award will have a value of US $3,000 to be used to assist the winner to participate in the 2015 Annual Conference of AARES to be held in Rotorua, New Zealand from February 10-13, 2015.

Selection Process
The 2014 Heading South Selection Committee will be chaired by the AAEA President, Barry Goodwin. Other members will include the President-Elect of AARES, Prof. Alan Randall, another member of AARES, usually the president of the North America Branch, and another member of AAEA.

Applications should include:
  • a paper for presentation at the AARES Annual Conference in Rotorua, for which the applicant is the sole or first author and which represents their original and unpublished work,
  • a one-page biographical statement, and
  • a one-page statement in support of their application, indicating what they would hope to accomplish through the award, why they would be deserving of the award, and confirming that they would be unable to attend the conference without this financial support.
Submission Deadlines and Details
Electronic submissions (in PDF form) for this award must be emailed to Brian Mondrag√≥n Jones ‎( by Friday, August 29, 2014 (for travel in February 2015).

Judges Needed for GSS/AEM Case Study Competition

The Graduate Student (GSS) and Agribusiness Economics Management (AEM) Sections of AAEA need your assistance. We need a total of eight to twelve judges for the preliminary rounds.  The time commitment is two to three hours on Sunday morning (July 27), depending on the number of teams.

This is a very rewarding experience for the graduate students. Judges in the past years also enjoyed the competition. Those interested in participating may contact Aslihan Spaulding ( or Brandon McFadden ( 

The GSS and AEM thank you in advance for your assistance!

Aslihan Spaulding             Brandon McFadden
AEM Chair                           GSS Chair