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Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources with Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Type of position Dean
Employer Michigan State University
Description of Employer Founded in 1855, Michigan State University is a leading land-grant university, and an innovator in research, teaching, and extension of knowledge. The University was established to ensure higher education was broadly available for the benefit of the public good while serving as a model for the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862. MSU has evolved into a world-class university, offering a full spectrum of programs that attracts gifted professors, staff members, and students. The University is part of the Big Ten Conference and, since 1964, has been one of 62 members of the prestigious Association of American Universities. 

MSU enrolls approximately 50,000 students, including 11,000 graduate and professional school students. The University employs more than 12,000 faculty and staff members. MSU’s students come from 82 of 83 counties in Michigan, each of the fifty United States, and more than 125 other countries. Underrepresented minorities comprise 25.9 percent of the student body, and 8.3 percent of the student body are international students. MSU has an alumni network nearly half a million strong.

The 5,100 MSU faculty members along with more than 560 post-doctoral research associates are the driving force behind the University’s growing reputation as a national leader in research and development. A significant number have received national and international recognition, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Many have received Dreyfus, Fulbright, Guggenheim, MacArthur, Sloan, and other awards. The University’s annual research expenditures are over $713 million across a very broad range of areas of study.

MSU’s East Lansing campus boasts 538 buildings, including 95 academic buildings, spread across 5,200 acres with 2,100 more acres in existing or planned development. The University owns approximately 19,600 additional acres throughout Michigan for agricultural and natural resources research and education. MSU offers students more than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study. The University has emerged as a leader in global education and ranks in the top ten for education abroad participation and international student enrollment with more than 140 countries represented. It also ranks sixth in the country among large universities for producing Peace Corps volunteers.

Over 800 faculty and staff housed in 13 academic units teach, conduct research, and provide outreach activities across a broad range of disciplines throughout the state, region, nation, and the world. Annual enrollment in the 20 undergraduate majors, 21 minors and 15 certificate programs offered within the CANR attract 2,969 undergraduates and 589 graduate students who can participate in more than 50 CANR clubs and organizations.

The Institute of Agricultural Technology, founded in 1894, delivers innovative, educational programs that develop career-ready graduates through intensive, practical learning, and skill enhancement in agriculture, the environment and applied technologies to meet the needs for a skilled workforce. With the delivery of certificate programs at multiple community college locations around the State of Michigan, participants work towards a certificate and an associate’s degree concurrently. All programs can be completed in two years, including a required professional internship. In addition, graduates have the option to continue their education by transferring into a CANR bachelor’s degree program.

Background: The state of Michigan and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources:
Michigan residents enjoy four distinct seasons, abundant quality-of-life opportunities, a wealth of natural resources, and a diverse population possessing a tremendous range of skills. The natural resources and human talent base are key elements of sustainable economic growth. The rural and urban/suburban areas create a vibrant partnership across the state to facilitate economic growth and natural resources conservation. East Lansing is a great place to live and work. It has the vitality, diversity, and culture of a university town, mixed with affordable housing, strong public schools, and accessible amenities. East Lansing has nearly 50,000 residents and is adjacent to Michigan’s capital in neighboring Lansing. The campus is approximately 90 minutes from Detroit, and equidistant between Chicago and Cleveland.

Agriculture is a major economic driver in Michigan and the dynamic agri-food industry generates more than $104 billion in annual economic activity. Michigan ranks second in the nation in the diversity of agricultural commodities produced and annually ranks as a top-10 producer of approximately 75 commodities. More than 300 agricultural commodities are produced and the annual value of agriculture exports from the state exceeds $2.8 billion.

Michigan has 10,031 inland lakes and borders four of the five Great Lakes with 3,052 miles of shoreline, which is roughly equal to the length of California’s ocean shoreline. Clean water is one of the most valuable natural resources for Michigan’s economy and environment. Indeed, one in five jobs in Michigan is directly tied to the quantity and quality of Michigan’s clean water. The varied and extensive natural resources within the state provide remarkable opportunities for outdoor recreation and support a range of industries. Forest products is one such industry, as Michigan has roughly 20 million acres of forest land, and forest products support about 91,000 Michigan jobs with $5.5 million in annual wages and contributes about $20.2 billion to Michigan’s economy when accounting for direct and secondary effects. 

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), the first and largest college at MSU, has a well-established national and international reputation for innovative research, education, Extension and outreach. The mission of the CANR is to enhance the quality of life for the people of Michigan and the world by advancing knowledge for the management of communities and agriculture, natural resources, and food systems to meet diverse human needs in a sustainable manner. We accomplish this mission through learning, discovery and engagement. As a community, the CANR values: scholarship; providing service to others; cultivating and maintaining partnerships; balance among teaching, research, and Extension activities; creation of basic and applied science and its translation into workable solutions that address critical societal needs; promoting excellence and valuing academic freedom, diversity, equity, and inclusion; accountability to meet the mission and programmatic priorities; and the tradition of the land-grant mission, upon which MSU was founded. MSU and the CANR are both national leaders and partners in fostering the economic sustainability of the state.

Points of pride within the CANR include the following examples:

MSU AgBioResearch (ABR) — founded in 1888 as the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station — funds fundamental and applied research for nearly 300 scientists in six MSU colleges, including many in CANR. In collaboration with industry constituents, MSU Extension and partner colleges, ABR scientists work to advance healthy and resilient agriculture and food systems, natural resources and communities throughout Michigan and beyond. There are 15 ABR-supported research stations across Michigan (over 14,737 acres) and 18 facilities on south campus hosting research. ABR support is used to fund faculty salaries, infrastructure, research initiatives and prominent internal programs (Project GREEEN, M-AAA). This funding primarily comes from federal and state agencies, commodity organizations, industry, conservation groups, foundations, and/or direct legislative funding from the state of Michigan.
Michigan State University Extension improves lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs and opportunities. Extension Educators and program staff collaborate with on-campus faculty members by taking the science, expertise, programs and resources of a great land-grant university to all residents of the state of Michigan and beyond.  Organized into 4 institutes (Agriculture & Agribusiness; Children & Youth; Community, Food & Environment; Health & Nutrition) across 14 districts within the state, extension educators and staff have a presence in all 83 Michigan counties.  
The CANR is a national leader in specialty crops research which supports growers who produce fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, hops, nursery plants, and flowers. 
The Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management (PERM) is a formal collaboration between MSU and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC). Through PERM, agencies fund portions of faculty positions and streamline research support processes to facilitate the ability of the university, MDNR, GLFC, and other interested parties to address high-priority, ecosystem-related research and outreach issues.
The newly announced Center for Regenerative Agriculture (https://www.canr.msu.edu/regenerative-agriculture/index) seeks to improve the health and resilience of our land, plants, and animals.
CANR faculty and staff are engaged internationally, actively supporting projects and programs in over 60 countries throughout the world in diverse areas of agricultural research, education, outreach and technology transfer. These projects are supported through funding from a diverse group of development agencies totaling more than $15 million annually. 
The international projects and programs portfolio in CANR encompass board areas of food and nutritional security, policy research, natural resources management, utilization of modern biotechnology and other emerging technologies for enhancing agricultural productivity and building climate resilient food systems. 
Through training workshops, study tours, and short courses offered at MSU and internationally, approximately 500 external constituents and students from over 50 countries benefit from international training and capacity building programs led by CANR faculty and specialists.  
In 2021, the MSU Product Center assisted 1,290 clients who reported creating 617 jobs and sales growth of over $33 million. The MSU Product Center assisted clients with new business creation, product development, regulatory compliance and sales and distribution expansion. In 2021, clients realized over $42 million in capital formation, which includes grants and loans obtained and client/business led investment. Over the last year, more than 50% of MSU Product Center clients were women and 37% were from BIPOC communities.
MSU Horticulture Gardens, most notably the popular Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden, the Judith A. DeLapa Perennial Garden, and the Clarence E. Lewis Landscape Arboretum, include more than 14 acres of diverse gardens and plant material and serve as a retreat and resource for gardeners, educators, plant lovers and children of all ages.
Enviro-Weather and the associated mesonetwork of automated weather stations located around the state provide on-line access to daily weather information critical for agriculture producers, natural resource managers, scientists and other interested parties.
W.K. Kellogg Biological Station is internationally recognized for integrating fundamental research in ecology and evolution with applications to regenerative agriculture and global change.
With the passage of higher education spending by the Michigan legislature in July 2022, Michigan State University will receive an additional $53 million in state funding to update the university’s dairy and greenhouse facilities.

Location East Lansing, Michigan
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date of competition Open until filled
Date position available Open
Description of duties

The Dean will provide vision and leadership and will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer. Reporting to and working with the Provost, the Dean is responsible for overseeing CANR’s programs, budgets, academics, http://www.agbioresearch.msu.edu“>MSU AgBioResearch, http://www.msue.msu.edu“>MSU Extension, and international programs. The Dean will work collaboratively with internal constituencies, including department chairs and directors, other schools and colleges, and outside constituents to foster a program that is both strategic and innovative, and that will enhance research, teaching, extension, and diversity. The Dean represents the college within the university and in interactions with the college’s highly engaged and accomplished students and alumni.

The Dean will be responsible for the following: 

  • Managing effectively in an academic environment and enabling the College’s programs and strategic planning;
  • Balancing the fiscal and business operations of the college including the state-based work in Extension and AgBio Research; 
  • Leading, recruiting and retaining diverse faculty and staff and ensuring an inclusive environment; 
  • Balancing considerations of curriculum, enrollment, finances, and faculty resources to ensure excellent inclusive instructional and research programs; 
  • Generating increased engagement and donors support from external partners, institutional supporters, alumni, industry, and other key constituencies; 
  • Supporting the work of the institution through inter-college collaborations; and,
  • Being a publicly visible and engaged advocate, primary representative, and champion for the College’s mission and image increasing the reputation of the College locally, nationally, and internationally.
Qualifications sought

Michigan State University seeks a visionary individual with a record of achievement in the leadership of a complex organization. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience enabling leadership in a premier academic setting and serve as a strong advocate for CANR, and its faculty, staff, and students. 

Qualifications include:

  • Significant record of effective administrative leadership including supervisory and budgetary experience and decision-making;
  • The capacity to work collegially and inspire faculty, directors, and chairs and facilitate their successes;
  • A demonstrated ability to engage with and work collaboratively with faculty and staff at all levels in a complex and diverse environment;
  • A style of approachability and accessibility to engage with and respond to a diverse spectrum of external constituents;
  • A record of demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and measurable outcomes for faculty, staff, and students;
  • Exceptional, written and oral communication skills;
  • Earned doctorate in a relevant field with outstanding scholarly accomplishments; and
  • Achievement of standards for appointment at the rank of professor (with tenure) in an academic department of the University.

Expectations include:

  • Visionary leadership from a Dean who will actively engage with the faculty and facilitate their capacities to identify and address challenges in agriculture and natural resources;
  • An understanding of and appreciation for the value of fundamental and applied research across the diverse range of disciplines represented within CANR;
  • An appreciation for and support of creativity across the instructional curriculum, including effective teaching, experiential instruction, and faculty engagement with undergraduate and graduate students;
  • A commitment to the land-grant mission, recognition and an appreciation for the role of MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch faculty and staff, and the demonstrated ability to partner with a diverse array of interested parties to enhance Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources;
  • A demonstrated commitment to the recruitment and retention of a culturally diverse and talented faculty, staff and student body within CANR;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop, maintain and enhance strong relationships with alumni, public and private interested parties and industry;
  • An ability to create and maintain appropriate alliances with the private sector for research, teaching and outreach opportunities;
  • Leadership at the university level to facilitate collaborations and efficient and effective use of resources across colleges; and
  • Possess a strong record of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and outcomes, and knowledge and commitment to the diverse communities that impact the national agricultural landscape from migrant and seasonal farm worker communities to S.T.E.M. centered research and practices in agriculture.
Application procedure  
Submit what While applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled, interested parties are encouraged to submit applications by September 30, 2022 for full consideration. Applicants should submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and a statement addressing how past/and or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion will advance MSU’s commitment to inclusive excellence that will held in confidence.
Submit to All nominations, applications, and inquiries should be sent electronically via email to:
[email protected]
Additional Information Michigan State University is an affirmative action, equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workplace and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The University actively supports partner accommodations and encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities.