February 22, 2021

Happy Monday, everyone,

I tend to think of catchphrases as associated with superheroes, which is why I wasn’t surprised to discover that our CJ Mucklow has a catchphrase. It’s “We’re Colorado State University, and we’re here to help,” and it perfectly encapsulates CJ’s vision for and commitment to the land-grant mission.

Just who is CJ Mucklow? He is the Extension Regional Director for the Northwest Region of our state, a man who wears a literal white (cowboy) hat and a rams-head bolo tie, and a wonderful, passionate advocate for engagement and extension here at CSU. He was also my conversational partner for the latest installment of my Tell Me More … conversation series. We had a fabulous time talking about 4-H, research-in-action, how Extension has changed in 150 years, how the pandemic has forced us all to change and adapt, and what it takes to truly be Colorado’s land grant university.

Some of you may already know what I told CJ when we sat down to talk—that when I began to consider a university presidency, I only considered land grant institutions, because I believe so strongly in the value and urgency of the land grant mission. I have seen first-hand, over decades working at various land grants, just how immediately we can and do improve the lives of the people of our state. I’ve also seen research interventions play out over several years or even decades, to nonetheless powerfully and positively impact the economy or infrastructure of the entire state.

Like me, CJ is committed to the land grant mission for the long haul, and he’s been in it long enough to remember when, as he puts it, there wasn’t any way for a CSU soil scientist to diagnose an issue other than to drive out to the farm and take samples in person. Today, of course, the scientist and farmer can jump on Zoom and talk through the issue in mere moments. What hasn’t changed is that the relationship between CSU extension representatives and the people of Colorado is built on trust.

It’s an incredible honor to be trusted by the people of this state, and its one that our Engagement and Extension professionals earn every day: in the field, on Zoom, in the lab, and out in the community. I urge you all to learn more about this extraordinary aspect of our university by watching my conversation with CJ here. I know you’ll come away as inspired and optimistic as I did.

And when you’ve watched my conversation with CJ, I encourage you to check out my other conversations as well, with Dr. Marcela Henao-Tamayo, Provost Mary Pedersen, and Rams Read author Claudia Rankine and CSU English Professor (and Guggenheim Fellow) Camille Dungy. Back in October when we launched this conversation series, I told you all that I hoped these would become “must-see tv” for our CSU community. Now’s the time to binge-watch them all!