PULLMAN — The head of Washington State University’s agriculture college is defending the school’s research direction after a group of faculty members accused industry officials of wielding too much influence over research decisions.
The Capital Press reports in a Thursday story that Ron Mittelhammer, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, says the college is designed to help stakeholders solve problems while giving researchers plenty of freedom.
However, Donna Potts — WSU chapter president of the American Association of University Professors — says she’s received 30 complaints from faculty members who say administrators are more interested in catering to industry needs.
The school has 588 faculty and non-faculty post-doctoral researchers.
Officials with the Washington Wheat Commission and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission counter the industry identifies problems and solicits proposals from scientists, adding that they researchers should understand the objective when they apply for the funding.