Barbara Christ named interim ag dean at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Barbara Christ, senior associate dean and professor at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named interim dean of the college while a national search for a permanent replacement gets under way.

Current Dean Bruce McPheron announced his plans to take on the role of vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, his undergraduate alma mater, in November.

Christ’s appointment will be effective Nov. 1, when she takes responsibility for leading the college’s nine academic units and an extension program.

A past president of the American Phytopathological Society, Christ has been on the college faculty since 1984. She was named senior associate dean in 2009 after serving four years as head of the Department of Plant Pathology.

In her role as senior associate dean, Christ touches on strategic planning, budgeting, personnel, promotion and tenure, external relations and day-to-day operations. She played a key role in helping to plan and implement the college’s recent restructuring, which resulted in the reorganization of its academic departments and statewide extension programs.

Christ holds a bachelor of science degree in plant science from Penn State, a master’s degree in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota and a doctoral degree in botany from the University of British Columbia.

The university will launch its national search for a permanent dean for the college will be launched in the near future.

With 1,077 employees, 3,000 undergraduate students and 460 graduate students, the College of Agricultural Sciences also invests nearly $97 million in research and graduate study yearly.

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