This has been a busy first week as Vice Chancellor and Dean, and I am energized by those I have been able to engage with thus far. As I said Monday, I’ll measure our success by how well our people are served, and that means ensuring that our employees are equipped to do their best work.
With that in mind, I have identified several individuals who will serve in Texas A&M AgriLife leadership roles, effective June 13, 2022. These individuals will work closely with our team of agency directors: Dr. Cliff Lamb, Dr. Rick Avery, Dr. Amy Swinford and Al Davis. The collaboration of our directors with the individuals below lays the foundation for excellence across AgriLife.
- Vic Seidel has been appointed Executive Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer. In these roles, Vic will lead initiatives for improved organizational effectiveness within the college and AgriLife. He will also provide oversight for AgriLife strategic initiatives, business and strategic management, and operational functions, including fiscal, human resources, risk and compliance, contracts and facilities, maintenance and construction, digital education, and information technology.
- Joe Cox will continue to serve as Associate Vice Chancellor for State Government Relations and External Affairs. Joe communicates the needs, priorities and relevance of Texas A&M AgriLife agencies to outside interests in a legislative capacity. The External Relations team serves as the primary point of contact for elected officials, government agencies and external stakeholders at the state level.
- Dr. Kerri Gehring will serve as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Collaboration and as Associate Dean for Administration. Kerri will coordinate special projects for the Vice Chancellor and work across agencies on select programmatic efforts. As Associate Dean for Administration, she will work with the Dean and Executive Associate Dean to promote student programs, review degree programs, and engage with the university on new and continuing initiatives.
- Dr. Chris Skaggs will serve as Associate Vice Chancellor for Stakeholder Relations and Associate Dean for Student Development. As Associate Vice Chancellor, Chris will work with producers, stakeholders, commodity groups and former students to strengthen the partnerships between industry and Texas A&M AgriLife on educational, research and extension initiatives. He will also provide leadership for the Texas A&M AgriLife Sounding Board and will continue to serve as associate dean for undergraduate programs within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
- Caitlyn Calvert will continue her role as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital Learning. In this role, she provides oversight for the development of AgriLife’s digital education strategy, including course development, publications and solutions-based systems for registration needs across our agencies and the College.
- Katherine Hancock will serve as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications. In this role, she will lead Texas A&M AgriLife-wide brand management, media relations, internal and external communications, and web and marketing strategies. She most recently served as Director of Communication and News Media within the Marketing and Communications office.
- Rebecca O’Neal will serve as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Strategic Engagement. Rebecca will lead our strategic approach to meaningful experiences and touchpoints for our key audiences. From developing and enhancing relationships, signature events, and alumni and donor outreach, she and her team will bring to life what it means to engage with Texas A&M AgriLife. Rebecca most recently served as Director of AgriLife Events and will continue to lead this division.
- Jennifer Yezak will continue to serve as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations. Jennifer directs AgriLife’s efforts of federal support, policy development, and legislative and congressional action. Jennifer remains responsive to promoting these initiatives and ensuring impactful actions of our agencies and the college.
- Dr. Patricia Klein, who currently serves as interim Executive Associate Dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will move into this role in a permanent capacity. She has served in an interim capacity since February, and I look forward to what she can bring to the College in a permanent capacity. I also look forward to examining additional needs of the College leadership team in the near future.
I thank Dr. Elsa Murano for her long commitment to Texas A&M AgriLife and am happy to announce that she will continue her career at the Borlaug Institute, as Director, where she previously served from 2012 to 2021. Her dedication to the mission of the Institute is unwavering, and I am confident she will continue to promote agriculture and improve lives globally through her work.
Finally, I extend my gratitude to Dr. Mark Hussey for his service during this interim period, which is greatly appreciated by all of us at AgriLife. Mark will be joining the faculty within the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, as well as embarking on a role as a special assistant to the Vice Chancellor and Dean to assist with key strategic initiatives and projects.
Together, this group, along with the College and agency leadership teams, will help develop our dedication to creativity, communication and collaboration for AgriLife. Please join me as we all work to support one another and engage with our constituents through meaningful teaching, research, extension and service.
Thanks and Gig ’Em,
Vice Chancellor and Dean, Agriculture and Life Sciences