Brigette Barbosa

Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture has selected its first assistant dean of advancement and external relations. Tanya Kiani, current director of advancement for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, will officially join the College of Agriculture on May 15.

College of Agriculture Dean David Wehner made the announcement on March 23. “She (Kiani) will need to get to know the faculty, the donors and the programs in place,” Wehner said. “She will be working on programs related to improving the College of Agriculture.”

Kiani has held her current position at Cal Poly for the past six years developing new communications relations within the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. She has helped maintain the college’s reputation and even increased their high quality standards. She has also been active in the Cal Poly Alumni Association and has aided with fund-raising events and encouraged private support for donations.

“What initially brought me here has kept me here, and that’s the ‘learn by doing’ motto at Cal Poly,” Kiani said. She is excited about helping the College of Agriculture expand both locally and on a state level.

“The future of the state, the health of the state, what goes into our bodies, the protection and economy of the state as a whole is the future of agriculture,” Kiani said. She also said she looks forward to working with the 23,000 alumni, understanding the “rich history” of the college and developing a “vision for the future.”

Future goals include the creation of a new technology lab building; however, Wehner said announcements and further details are “a long way away.” The new Agriculture Technology Center will expand laboratory space and provide new, modern equipment for agriculture research. Kiani said the new lab center would help direct the college’s future.

As assistant dean of advancement and external relations, Kiani’s main focus will be fund raising, Wehner explained. Although the title of the position is new to the College of Agriculture, the position itself is not. Former Cal Poly Director of Advancement for the College of Agriculture, Michael Barr left to take a position for a nonprofit organization, Wehner said. His departure left the position vacant. The title of the position was changed to assistant dean of advancement and external relations to promote a “higher profile” for the job, Wehner said.

During the Centennial Campaign, a multi-year fundraising campaign that ended in December 2004, the College of Agriculture raised more than $47 million. Helping to lead the College of Architecture and Environmental Design throughout the same campaign, Kiani rallied support for fund-raising activities, bringing in $9.8 million in private support. She earned her bachelor’s degree from CSU Long Beach and her M.B.A. from Cal Poly.

Kiani leaves the College of Architecture and Environmental Design with its 8,000 alumni to work with the 23,000 alumni involved in the College of Agriculture. According to Kiani, the position she is vacating has not been filled.

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