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Tenured faculty member in AGNR Extension, Donald Webster will be taking on a new title this fall, replacing Vincent Novara to become the first extension chairman of the University Senate.
Webster, 67, was selected to join the senate’s Faculty Affairs Committee in 2011, becoming a senator for AGNR in 2012, and since then has made efforts to educate on and off-campus organizations about AGNR and the extension field, efforts which he plans to continue as chairman.
Specifically, some of Webster’s goals include, “to continue to operate the Senate in the efficient manner that has been its tradition, to work with administration to continue to build UMD into the best public institution in the nation, to educate campus about the unique abilities of AGNR with its reach into all counties, [and] to educate UME about its role in the overall functioning of campus,” Webster said.
Webster works for Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, focusing his work on commercial aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay. While Webster’s expertise lie in marine studies such as commercial aquaculture, pond management, and aquatic weed control, Webster also knows what it takes to maintain a successful governing body.
“I have been on many boards, councils, commissions and task forces and have learned how successful ones operate in providing broad-spectrum input to decisions,” Webster said.
Therefore, as Webster mentioned to The Diamondback, he hopes to encourage involvement, diversify the Senate, and thus allow all voices to be heard both locally and nationally.
In that regard, Webster has access to policy-making by serving as chairman of the state’s Aquaculture Coordinating Council, from which he can make recommendations to the General Assembly and Gov. Martin O’Malley. For example, Webster has helped rebuild Maryland’s oyster population by encouraging O’Malley to propose the Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan.
Locally, as a member of the University Senate, Webster has taken part in the revision of faculty merit pay distribution, the first of many senate actions that Webster will continue to perform during his chairman tenure.