COLUMBUS, Ohio– Cathann A. Kress has been reappointed vice president of agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University, effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027, subject to approval by Ohio State’s Board of Trustees.
Under her leadership, the college has advanced in important ways across its mission areas of research, teaching, and Extension. That includes the creation of a comprehensive new strategic plan; updated promotion and tenure processes; and strengthened and more representative shared governance structures for faculty, staff, and students.
The college continues to have a robust research portfolio, including $44 million in research expenditures in FY21. The college also has strengthened external collaborations around issues critical to Ohio, including water quality and food, agricultural, and natural resources policy and research.
The college’s extensive outreach and engagement activities across the state, including through OSU Extension, have been bolstered by expanded relationships with such national partners as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Nationwide, Kubota Tractor Corporation, Cargill, Scotts Miracle Gro, and Apple. The college has also raised record-breaking funds for student scholarship, research support, emerging priorities, and more.
Additionally, Kress and her team developed a Physical Master Plan, which establishes a college-wide vision that aligns its Columbus, CFAES Wooster, and statewide campuses. This plan includes visionary capital improvement projects across the college’s combined 11,400 acres in Ohio. For example, the Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex at the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory will provide a cutting-edge facility for researching modern, sustainable food and agricultural production technologies.
Last year, the Wooster Science Building opened on the CFAES Wooster campus and serves as a hub for research, teaching, outreach, and socialization.
CFAES has increased its commitment to a student first philosophy, with strong student success metrics across all units including Ohio State ATI with its statewide mandate as an associate-degree granting unit and the School of Environment and Natural resources, which increased enrollment by nearly 6% during the 2020-2021 academic year. In 2022, CFAES will welcome more than 20 new faculty into the CFAES Community across a breadth of disciplines.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) also continues to be a priority for the college. Kress has led structural change for DEI by adding an assistant dean of DEI to the college leadership and hiring a full-time DEI program director to coordinate and accelerate the college’s progress in this area.
As vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES, Kress is the chief academic and administrative officer of the college and is responsible for leading its education, research, service and outreach missions. She also leads fundraising efforts and facilitates strategic internal and external relationships of the college.