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Search underway for new agricultural and life sciences dean

December 9, 2021 By Käri Knutson
Exterior of Agricultural Hall and Henry Mall

Agricultural Hall stands at the top of Henry Mall. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences includes 30 on-campus buildings and more than 6,000 acres of land and associated farm research facilities. Photo: Bryce Richter

A search-and-screen committee has been appointed to help identify and select candidates for the next dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Troy Runge, a professor and department chair in Biological Systems Engineering, is chairing the committee.

The CALS dean provides leadership to 255 faculty members and more than 850 staff, and directs a budget of more than $200 million, approximately half of which comes from extramural support. The dean is the chief academic and executive officer of the college with responsibility for strategic planning, curriculum and academic affairs, diversity, equity and inclusion, fundraising, community and government relations, and personnel and budget.

As director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station, the dean manages the institution’s federal agricultural research designation, oversees federal research capacity funds and a network of 12 agricultural research stations, and coordinates with the UW–Madison Division of Extension on related cooperative extension systems delivered through the college. The dean is also responsible for a large facility footprint, including 30 on-campus buildings and more than 6,000 acres of land and associated farm research facilities in Madison and throughout the state.

CALS is an international leader in food and agriculture, the fundamental life sciences, climate, and human and community health and well-being. Through research, teaching and outreach, the college strives to lead in science, innovation and collaboration that improves lives and sustains the natural world. Enrolling about 2,800 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students, it offers academic programs encompassing agriculture, natural resources, life sciences and social sciences.

Kate VandenBosch has served as dean since 2012 and will be stepping down at the end of this academic year.

In addition to Runge, the committee members are:

  • Caitilyn Allen, professor, Plant Pathology
  • Brad Bolling, associate professor, Food Science
  • Dominique Brossard, professor and department chair, Life Sciences Communication
  • Ashley Cheung, student representative
  • Jeremy Foltz, professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Deborah Helman, director of science and engineering library services, Steenbock Library
  • Paul Ludden, member of the CALS Board of Visitors and emeritus professor, Biochemistry
  • Jamie Nack, senior wildlife outreach specialist, Forest and Wildlife Ecology
  • Lauren Papp, professor and associate dean, School of Human Ecology
  • Stevie Riddle, medical program assistant, School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Chris Salm, member of the CALS Board of Visitors
  • Garret Suen, associate professor, Bacteriology
  • Heather White, associate professor, Animal and Dairy Science
  • Thea Whitman, associate professor, Soil Science
  • Eric Wilcots, dean of the College of Letters & Science

The committee encourages applications and nominations. To read a full description of the position and instructions on how to nominate candidates, visit the Jobs at UW website. To ensure consideration, applications must be received by Feb. 28, 2022.

Public listening sessions will be held via Zoom in January. Times, dates and a feedback link for people who are unable to attend are available on the search site.

For questions or comments, contact Carole Kolb, administrative search coordinator, at