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CFAES Wooster


Dean Kress reappointed

Submitted by Frances Whited,

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the reappointment of Cathann A. Kress as dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and vice president for agricultural administration. Subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, her reappointment is effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027.

Under Cathann’s leadership, the college has advanced in important ways across its mission areas of research, teaching, and Extension. It produced a comprehensive new strategic plan; its promotion and tenure processes were updated; and shared governance structures for faculty, staff, and students were strengthened and made more representative. She also reconceptualized the college’s leadership structure to enhance collaboration and impact. 

Cathann 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.

The college continues to have a robust research portfolio, including $44 million in research expenditures in FY21. Cathann 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. Additionally, the college has raised record-breaking funds for student scholarship, research support, emerging priorities, and more.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been a priority for Cathann. She 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. With a commitment to sustainable change, college programs and units have also been audited and considered through a DEI lens.

Please join me in thanking Cathann for her dynamic leadership and congratulating her on her reappointment as dean and vice president. 


Melissa L. Gilliam
Executive Vice President and Provost