Katie McDermott

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The College of Agriculture Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) is looking for a new dean, and it has narrowed down its search to three candidates.

During the past few weeks, the candidates have spent time on campus and held public forums.

John Russin is the vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and one of the candidates.

In his forum, he touched on the accomplishments agriculture has made in the United States and agriculture colleges’ influence in the agriculture industry today.

“When the ag enterprise started 150 years ago, they all started very humbly,” he said. “I saw pictures of Cal Poly when it first started, very humble beginnings.”

Kimberlee Kidwell, another candidate, is the executive associate dean of academic programs for Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

In her forum, she touched on her unique industry experience, and leading by example with faculty members.

“Personally, I do not like to ask faculty to do things I’ve never done before,” Kidwell said. “I can’t do that all the time, but for some of the big rocks, especially if we have a big initiative, I almost always like to try it first so I know what I’m talking about.”

The third candidate, Andrew Thulin, is the Interim Dean for CAFES at Cal Poly and spoke on May 15.

He noted his industry experience and his history and time spent at Cal Poly, along with his passion for the university.

“I have passion for Cal Poly, I went to school here as an undergrad. And my family, one daughter went here and the other daughter went elsewhere. But beyond that, I think it’s a very special college.”

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