Professor in residence for Dookie

By Country News

A new appointment as professor in residence has seen a return to north-east Victoria for scientist Tim Reeves.

Professor Reeves has become the first professor in residence for the Dookie Campus of the University of Melbourne’s faculty of veterinary and agricultural science, in a move likely to be seen as reinforcing the university’s commitment to the rural agricultural campus.

Prof Reeves, 73, has enjoyed an international career in management of sustainable development programs and has worked for United Nations organisations.

He spent 20 years in agricultural research at Rutherglen and he agreed it was good to be back in the region where he could feel the crunch of frost underfoot and smell the country air.

Drawing on his international experience, he said he aimed to extend the students’ understanding of the ‘big picture’ of agriculture.

‘‘One of the reasons I accepted this role is to apply my experience, knowledge and expertise to help the students at Dookie campus to understand the national and international significance of agricultural education and research, and see the possibilities of where their studies can take them,’’ Prof Reeves said.

‘‘Food and nutritional security is perhaps the greatest challenge facing humankind, and what we’re realising more and more is that the nexus between agriculture, food, nutrition and human health is absolutely critical. In one way or another these students will contribute to meeting that global challenge in their careers.’’

A significant part of the big picture of agriculture Prof Reeves hopes to impress upon his students, and a recurring theme in his career, is sustainability.

He was director general of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center based in Mexico between 1995 and 2002 and has also been a senior expert with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations working on Save and Grow — sustainable intensification of smallholder agriculture — and in 2016 led an FAO consultation in Cuba on the development and adoption of conservation agriculture.

Prof Reeves will teach sustainable agriculture to Bachelor of Agriculture students based at the campus, provide support for student-industry engagement and deliver careers and research project advice.

He will also mentor graduate research students and early career academic staff and explore further opportunities to grow engagement between industry and the campus.

There will be about 100 students based at the Dookie campus in Semester 2, including graduate researchers, Diploma in General Studies students and second- and third-year Bachelor of Agriculture students, whose experience at the campus will be showcased at Dookie Day 2018 on Sunday, September 9.