CFANS announces U faculty member as new dean

The appointment of Allen Levine needs the approval of the Board of Regents.

Vincent Staupe

After a lengthy search, the candidate chosen from three to lead the new College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences was the only one from within the University.

Allen Levine, a faculty member at the University since 1981, was appointed as dean of CFANS on Oct. 25 and will begin his new position today pending approval of the Board of Regents.

Before his appointment, Levine was a professor and head of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition as well as the director of the Minnesota Obesity Center.

Levine said one of the motivating factors in his decision to apply was the “excitement” surrounding the new college, which was created July 1.

“I saw that there was a tremendous opportunity with building a new college,” he said.

Levine has spent almost 18 years as the deputy associate chief of staff for research at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

He has also held joint appointments in the departments of psychiatry, surgery and medicine, an asset Levine said will help him with his position.

“I’ve had a lot of experience working with different departments,” Levine said, “That experience makes it easier for me to call upon colleagues.”

As far as to the direction he would like to take the college, Levine said he would like to focus on aiding the community through “solution-driven science.”

“We want to still be servicing the community,” Levine said. “We can’t forget that part.”

Levine also said he hoped to continue expanding the college, working against the idea that St. Paul is just the “farm campus.”

“We’re more than just farming,” Levine said. “We’re working to not only increase the number of students, but the quality as well.”

Particularly, Levine said he is interested in the topic of global warming and how it relates to CFANS.

“What we work on is the land, air and water, and how to protect them,” Levine said.

Levine said the school plans on “getting a little entrepreneurial” with regards to expanding the college; that will include applying for more grants and donations from private donors.

Mary Buschette, the CFANS alumni relations director, was involved with the selection process and said Levine was chosen in part because of his knowledge of the college.

“One of the advantages with him was that he shares our perspective,” Buschette said.

“He’s been in the trenches with us” through the ongoing restructuring leading to the creation of CFANS, she said.

Levine said the restructuring of the college has been a challenge but that the people involved have been working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“It’s a culture shift; we’ve combined three different units into one,” Levine said. “But overall it’s been a good process.”

Graduate student Alyssa Bakke, who was the dean search committee’s student representative, said Levine possesses great interpersonal skills and is an excellent scholar.

“He’s the right person to bring the two colleges and one department together,” Bakke said.

Bakke added that most people she’s talked to are eager to see how Levine leads the college.

“I think everyone is excited to see how we can bring everyone together to do some great research and help the University in its mission,” Bakke said.