The Department of Agronomy, as one of the foundation departments, was founded together with NAU in 1902. Based on the Department of Agronomy, College of Agriculture was formed in October 2000. Under the umbrella of College of Agriculture, the new Department of Agronomy was established based on the Division of Crop Cultivation and Farming System.
The new Department of Agronomy focuses on teaching and research on crop eco-physiology, crop management theory and technology, and extension of management engineering technology for such crops as rice, wheat, cotton and other special crops. The new Department of Agronomy has one first level National key discipline (Crop science), one second level National key discipline (Crop Cultivation and Farming System) and one provincial (Jiangsu) level key inter-discipline (Agriculture Informatics). Crop science of NAU has been rated as A+ in the fourth national discipline evaluation, and selected as one of the national first-class disciplines. The undergraduate program of Agronomy has been selected as the experimental program in the Reform of Talent Training Mode for Agriculture and Forestry of the Ministry of Education, the pilot of Professional Accreditation (third level) of Ministry of Education and the Outstanding Major in Jiangsu
Faculty and staff
The new Agronomy Department has 39 faculty members and 5 assistants , including 20 professors (45%), 13 associate professors (30%), 6 lecturers, 4 postdocs and 2 postdocs. Among the faculty, one is the member of the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council, one the convener of the Crop Science Discipline Review Group, one the member of the Expert Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, one the deputy director and one the member of the Higher Education Guidance Committee of Ministry of Education in the field of Crop Production, two are the conveners of Agricultural Professional Degree Graduate Education Steering Committee in the field of agricultural engineering and information technology, one is the National "Thousand talent Plan" Specially-invited Expert, three are the Distinguished Young Scholars of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, one is the Young Chang Jiang Scholar, three are awarded National High-level personnel of special support program and two are specialists of National Agricultural Industry Technology System. A group of outstanding young scholars have been introduced and trained in this department in the past five years.
The new Agronomy Department is the host for several supporting platforms, including the National Engineering and Technology Center for Information Agriculture (NETCIA), two Jiangsu Key Laboratories, five provincial or ministerial level teaching and research centers, and four national demonstration bases for teaching and research. In addition, 16 enterprise graduate working stations of Jiangsu province and three teaching and research bases for agronomy (Baima, Rugao, and Huaian) are established by this department.
Postgraduate Student Academic Forum are regularly organized at university and college levels to promote academic information exchanges among graduate students and improve the quality of postgraduate education. Building up the free and honest atmosphere in teaching and research for students and faculty and staffs has been pursued by the new Department of Agronomy.
In the past five years, we have published six text books among that three are as chief editor and three as co-editor as well as 3monographs ; established the teaching team for three core course groups, one course in English for foreign students funded by Ministry of Education, and one bilingual course; completed one key project for Jiangsu Teaching reform program; set up the standards of integration capability test for the undergraduate students majored in Agronomy. The faculty members have won one special award of Jiangsu Teaching achievement prize and one second prize of National Teaching achievement.
During the past five years, the enrollment amount of graduate students has been stable and graduate student training quality has been steadily improved; 10 to 15% of the master theses have been blindly peer reviewed by external experts and passed the review with 100%; the number of students who have been awarded Ph.D. and Master degree are, respectively, 89 and 219; 168 SCI papers have been published by the Ph.D. students.
In the past five years (2013-2017), the Department of Agronomy has been granted over 130 research projects with a total research fund of 22.219 million RMB. Its faculty has been the principle investigators of three national key research and development projects, with a total fund of 11.706 million, ten other major national scientific research projects (e.g. 863 programs), and thirty nine NSFC projects (including one for Distinguished Young Scholars and two Key projects). In the past five years, nine National, Provincial or Ministerial level Scientific and Technological Progress Awards have been awarded to the Department of Agronomy who is the first major complete unit of five of the awards. The Department of Agronomy has published 228 SCI papers, including 8 papers published on international journals with an impact factor of >9 (one Nature climate change paper, five Global Change Biology papers, two PNAS papers) and and 104 papers with an impact factor of >3. The faculty members have set up 8 standards and owned 42 China national invention patents.
The Department of Agronomy has innovated the service mode of extension program to better conduct the national strategy of rural vitalization. The extension programs, aimed at the high quality, high yield, high efficiency and environment-friendly production system of rice, wheat, and cotton, have been conducted through technical training, spreading technology brochure, technology demonstration, two- thread extensions, and mobile Apps. The extension service has covered most of the main crop production area in China, Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. The research unit on rice cultivation has broken the high-yield records of China time to time, and the research unit on wheat cultivation has developed the technology service system along the full production, supplying and processiong chain of high-quality wheat. The precision management technology and extension system for rice and wheat production has been applied at numerous demonstration sites across the main rice and wheat producing region in China. Ten technology systems from this department have been selected as the national (1) and provincial (9) main agriculture extension programs in the past five years. Five Provincial or Ministerial level technology extension awards, with remarkable economic and social benefits, have been awarded to faculty members.
International Cooperation and Exchange
During the past five years, the department of Agronomy has built several international cooperation platforms focusing on the hot research topics. Partnership between the Department of Agronomy and more than 30 institutions and universities of U.S., Japan, U.K., Canada, and the Netherlands have been established. As an initial participant, the department of Agronomy has been leading the foundation of NAU-MSU Asia Hub, and helped building the Food-Energy-Water Systems Transdisciplinary Environmental Research Network (FEWSTERN) between U.S and China, and established the Joint Research Center for Plant Phenomics between China and U.K., France, and Germany. Many outstanding young faculty and graduate students have been sponsored to visit universities and institutions abroad for short-term and long-term. twenty eight joint Ph.D. students have conducted joint research programs abroad, and 18 international students have been studying in this department. In addition, the department of Agronomy has hosted or jointed several international workshops and symposia.