Montana State University

MSU elevates College of Agriculture leadership to vice presidential position

January 17, 2014 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

In recognition of its importance to the state’s economy and to its own mission, Montana State University is elevating its dean of the College of Agriculture to a vice presidential position within the university.

The change came in the context of assessing the position as the university conducts a national search for a new leader for its College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station.

“We made this change with input from representatives of Montana’s agriculture industry,” said Waded Cruzado, MSU president. “Agriculture is such an important part of our state’s economy and such an important part of our mission as a land-grant university, this seems very appropriate.”

The new vice president of agriculture will also serve as the dean of the College of Agriculture, and in that role reports to MSU Provost Martha Potvin.  In the role of director of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES), the position reports to President Cruzado.

“MSU plays an important role in supporting the state’s agricultural industry and I want direct communication with the person leading that support,” Cruzado said.

MSU’s College of Agriculture has 1,028 students with 11 bachelor degree programs; nine master degree programs and four doctoral degree programs from five departments and one division. Historically, it has consistently been among the top three colleges in terms of research activity. The Montana Agricultural Experiment Station conducts research at seven research centers strategically located to address the diverse climatological challenges of the state’s agriculture industry.

The new vice president will be responsible for leading one of MSU’s foremost colleges with six departments and one division. In all, 961 students are enrolled in one of 11 undergraduate degree programs. Additionally, there are 147 graduate students across 13 degree programs.  The Montana Agricultural Experiment Station supports faculty, staff and students in on-campus departments, allied facilities, and at seven Agricultural Research Centers across Montana.

A 21-member committee has been formed to conduct the search.  Brett Gunnink, dean of the College of Engineering, is the search committee’s chair.  The committee will be assisted by Greenwood/Asher & Associates, an executive search consulting firm.

Members of the search committee are listed below by name and title in alphabetical order:

Shannon Arnold, assistant professor, Division of Agricultural Education;

Mary Burrows, associate professor and Extension specialist, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology;

Nico Cantalupo, Meagher County Extension agent;

Jessica (Murdock) Cleveland, student services coordinator, College of Agriculture;

Ron de Yong, director, Montana Department of Agriculture;

Krista Lee Evans, executive director, Montana Agricultural Business Association;

Lisa Lone Fight, graduate student, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences;

Brett Gunnink, chair and dean, College of Engineering;

Ryan McCormick, president, Montana Grain Growers Association;

Shannon Moreaux, assistant professor, Department of Animal and Range Sciences;

Jim Peterson, Montana state senator;

Lynda Ransdell, dean, College of Education, Health and Human Development;

Errol Rice, executive vice president, Montana Stockgrowers Association;

Tracy Sterling, department head, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences;

Christiana Stoddard, associate professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics;

Joyce Swartzendruber, state conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service;

Luther Talbert, professor, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology;

Randy Tunby, president,Montana Wool Growers;

Ron Ueland, president, Northern Seeds, LLC;

David Wichman, associate professor and superintendent, Central Agricultural Research Center;

Blake Wiedenheft, assistant professor, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases

The College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station are currently led by Glenn Duff, interim dean and director.  Dean and Director Jeff Jacobsen stepped down from the position in September after serving more than 10 years in the position.


Brett Gunnink (406) 994-5783