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Interim dean of agriculture brings experience to the task

At the end of 2022, Purdue’s President Mung Chiang announced that Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, had accepted the position of Executive Vice President for Research for Purdue University.  Effective January 9,  Ken Foster, professor of agricultural economics, will be serving as the Interim Dean of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. Foster is a graduate of Purdue University and earned his master’s degree from the University of Georgia and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis.

During his 32-year career at Purdue, Foster has demonstrated remarkable leadership. He held the position of associate head and graduate program director before serving as head of the Department of Agricultural Economics for nine years.  Among many other responsibilities, his role as Department Head involved extensive outreach to stakeholders in the agricultural, energy, community development, government policy and natural resources arenas. Foster also led the establishment of the Center for Commercial Agriculture and the department rose to fourth in the world in the Agricultural Economics and Policy area according to the Center for World University Rankings.

After stepping down as head, Foster served as President’s Fellow for Colombia-Purdue Partnerships in 2018-2019. He served as interim head of the Department of Food Science for a year and a half beginning in 2020. During that time, he collaborated with colleagues to envision and secure seed funding for the Food Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Institute (FEMI).

Purdue Provost Patrick Wolfe will soon announce the appointment of the committee that will conduct a national search for the College of Agriculture’s new dean.  

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