seal  Purdue News

September 8, 2003

Head named for new School of Agriculture department

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Roger Tormoehlen has been named head of the newly consolidated Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education at Purdue University.

Roger Tormoehlen

Tormoehlen, a professor in 4-H youth, will oversee the department, which combines students and faculty from three programs in the School of Agriculture: agricultural communication, agricultural education and 4-H youth development.

A faculty member in 4-H youth at Purdue since 1988, Tormoehlen was previously on the agricultural engineering faculty at the University of Wisconsin. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural education from Purdue and earned his Purdue doctoral degree in agricultural health and safety.

"While we eliminate boundaries, we will still maintain the unique strengths of our 4-H, ag education and ag communication programs," Tormoehlen said. "My challenge is to look at all the resources we now have available in this new department and see how each area can benefit from and enhance the others."

Tormoehlen sees some natural partnerships in the works.

"Our 4-H program may be better able to work with FFA for instance. We might also be able to enhance some of our science education programs in public schools," he said.

The agricultural communications academic program will be strengthened with the hiring of faculty with expertise in risk communication, issue management and science communication.

"We are equipping the next generation of communicators to be to able explain the complex and technical issues tied to the food system," Tormoehlen said.

The department also will benefit from its ties to agricultural science and business teachers across the state.

Victor Lechtenberg, dean of the School of Agriculture, said, "We are excited that the agricultural teachers are now more directly tied to the School of Agriculture." Previously the department's faculty were in the School of Education.

Lechtenberg describes the new department as a model for the multidisciplinary research and education needed to address problems in agriculture and youth development. He said the department will expand the School of Agriculture's relationships with other schools at Purdue and with statewide organizations and groups for youth, education, science and communication.

"Roger will bring this new department to the front and center in Purdue's outreach to young people and to schools, and he will forge strong partnerships across campus and the state," Lechtenberg said.

Writer: Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722,

Sources: Roger Tormoehlen, (765) 494-8429,

Victor Lechtenberg, (765) 494-8392,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

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