The department is hoping to fill its vacancy by spring. | Natsuki Nishikawa

The Cal Poly BioResource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) department is currently searching for a new department head after the former head Arthur MacCarley stepped down from the position months ago.

MacCarley was originally an electrical engineering professor. The current interim department head, Charles Crabb, comes from the dairy science department. Crabb said MacCarley had asked to step down from the role.

The BRAE department head will have the important position of setting the tone and level of enthusiasm of the department, Crabb said.

“The department head has a role of shaping the morale of the department,” Crabb said. “The department head has a crucial role in shaping the direction of the department.”

Rather than just going through the typical process of posting the job on the Cal Poly Jobs website, the department is using various methods to search for their new department head.

“We’re reaching out to our network. Each faculty member has come from different institutions so they have a network of colleagues from those institutions they can reach out to,” Crabb said. “They’re all connected to BRAE field, so everyone is asked to think about and encourage people to apply for the job.”

Crabb and his colleagues have also been reaching out to the industry, alumni and other academic institutions that offer similar programs.

The department will be searching for someone with a strong history of working closely with the agriculture industry.

“(We want) someone who understands how to translate the industry’s directions and the industry’s needs,” Crabb said. “Someone that can help the faculty turn into meaningful curriculum. Someone who is well connected within the industry and need solid academic record. Someone with a Ph.D. and recognized as an academic leader.”

Crabb expects to begin reviewing applications in mid-February, he said. He hopes the decision will be made by spring, and to have the new head start their job this summer.

“We have good demand on students, faculty have strong commitments to the program and students,” Crabb said. “What we need is someone who will continue to advance the department.”

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