I'm at the University of Tennessee this week, where I am an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Plant Sciences, for meetings and teaching. Yesterday I was a guest in Dr. Brandon Horvath's inimitable PLSC 462 class, Professional Development in the Turfgrass Industry. This class is modeled on the television show Inside the Actor's Studio and has an interview format.
The class was very interesting, not only in this unique format of drawing out stories about professional development in the industry, but also with the studio lighting and three television cameras recording the class. This will be posted, I have been told, on iTunes U, so you will be able to see this innovative class format and, perhaps, if I can tie a bow tie without the assistance of a mirror.
Immediately after my guest appearance in this class, I gave a seminar for the Department of Plant Sciences about the teaching work I do in Asia. Much of East Asia, and many of the population centers along the Pacific Coast of Asia fall into what we call the transition zone, meaning either C3 (cool-season) or C4 (warm-season) grasses can grow. Walking around the campus yesterday I saw tall fescue and bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and bentgrass, Poa trivialis and Poa annua — in short, just about every type of grass can grow in Tennessee. In the seminar, I spoke about the various education programs that ATC provides in Asia, where these programs are offered, and how I take a mechanistic approach to teaching turfgrass that focuses on modifying the growing environment to create the desired conditions for the grass to grow.
Today I'll be looking at turfgrass research plots and learning more about the research currently underway in the turfgrass program here at the University of Tennessee. We are also discussing our continuing collaborative work, research projects that we may do in Asia and at Tennessee, and how we can work together to develop more (and better) turfgrass information and educational programs.