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New OSU ag dean brings in a teacher's perspective

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dr. Cathann Kress, the new vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University, comes from serving as VP for extension and outreach and director of cooperative extension at Iowa State University.

“It’s quite an honor to join the incredible community of faculty, staff and volunteers who are dedicated to all of CFAES’ millions in education, research, outreach and service,” she said at last month’s Farm Science Review.

“This is a desirable place to be. I’m hoping we can take efforts to the next level, and the way we can do this is to be focused on the cutting edge of this ag community’s science and research.”

Kress will be the chief academic and administrative officer of the college and is responsible for leading its education, research, service and outreach missions. She will also take charge of fundraising efforts and facilitate strategic internal and external relationships of the college.

“There are constantly issues that are arising that could be a challenge to our industry,” she said. “We need to be thinking ahead, as we’re always on the move in the world of agriculture.”

Kress has taught undergraduate and graduate students at all levels. In addition, her research and applied research efforts have focused on impacts on rural populations.

For example, her work has included the impacts of multiple deployments on dependent children of National Guard and Reserve service members; programs to assist disadvantaged children, youth and families; and achievement gaps that impact rural youth.

“I hope people throughout the region are proud of the CFAES and what it means for the region,” Kress noted. “A college like this contributes equally to the ag industry, particularly as we partner with our sister land grant universities such as Purdue and others.

“The value to the public is incredible. It’s an incredible value that Ohioans get for the investment that is made.”

Kress’ leadership tenure spans the past 25 years. Prior to ISU, Kress served as a senior policy analyst of Military Community and Family Policy at the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. Kress also served as director of youth development at the National 4-H Headquarters in D.C.

Among her many national leadership roles, she serves as a trustee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Board in Battle Creek, Mich.; secretary and incoming chair, administrative heads section of the Board on Agriculture Assembly, Assoc. of Public and Land-grant Universities; and as a National 4-H Council trustee.

Kress earned a bachelor of science degree in social work at ISU, as well as a master of arts in counselor education/college student development and a PhD in education, both from the University of Iowa. She taught classes at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as well.