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Senior Administrator Search Information

Information on current searches, candidates, and campus and community participation in the search process for searches for senior level academic leaders.

Ongoing Searches

The search committee for Virginia Tech’s next dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) invites the campus community to participate in open forum sessions in Blacksburg and Richmond for the three finalists who will take part in visits to Virginia Tech later this month.

The CALS dean serves as chief administrative officer of the college and is responsible for strategically leading the college’s academic and administrative operations. CALS and its faculty and students are shaping the future of agriculture and life sciences, and the land-grant philosophy and mission of Virginia Tech in all its diverse teaching, research, extension, development, international, and service and outreach activities.

The new dean will replace Alan Grant, who announced his retirement last September after a distinguished 15-year career at Virginia Tech.

Dan Givens, dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and chair of the search committee, invites members of the campus community to meet the candidates the in-person and Zoom forums. Each candidate will share their perspectives on, “Catalyzing Success of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in the Next Decade.”

Dean of CALS Finalists

Tracy Rutherford

  • Monday, April 15
    Blacksburg: Steger 145 Auditorium and Zoom
    Open Forum: 3:30-4:30 p.m. (presentation/Q&A); Reception: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 17
    Richmond: Virginia Farm Bureau Auditorium, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond and WebEx
    Open Forum: 2:00-3:00 p.m. (presentation/Q&A); Reception: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Rutherford has served as head of the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since July 2019. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, she was the associate department head of academic programs in Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, and associate department head of undergraduate programs. Rutherford earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University and her master’s and doctorate from Texas A&M University.

Tracy Rutherford CV (PDF)

John Killefer

  • Thursday, April 18
    Blacksburg: Holtzman Alumni Center Assembly Hall and Zoom
    Open Forum: 2:00-3:00 p.m. (presentation/Q&A); Reception: 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 19
    Richmond: Virginia Farm Bureau Auditorium, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond and WebEx
    Open Forum: 2:00-3:00 p.m. (presentation/Q&A); Reception: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Killefer serves as a tenured professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at South Dakota State University. Prior to this role, he was the South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean and Professor for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at South Dakota State (2018-2022) and professor and department head of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University (2012-2018). Killefer holds a Ph.D. in Animal Science from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Hastings College (Nebraska).

John Killefer CV (PDF)

Mario Ferruzzi

  • Monday, April 22
    Blacksburg: Holtzman Alumni Center Assembly Hall and Zoom
    Open Forum: 3:30-4:30 p.m. (presentation/Q&A); Reception: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 24
    Richmond: Virginia Farm Bureau Auditorium, 12580 West Creek Parkway in Richmond and WebEx
    Open Forum: 2:00-3:00 p.m. (presentation/Q&A); Reception: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Ferruzzi serves as director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and the Arkansas Children’s Endowed Chair in Digestive Disease and Nutrition Research. Prior to his time at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he was the David H. Murdock Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute (2016-2021) and professor of Food Science and Nutrition Science at Purdue University (2004-2016). He holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in food science and nutrition from The Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Duke University.

Mario Ferruzzi CV (PDF)

Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Search Timeline

November 2023: Search Launch

February 2024: Position Closes

March/April 2024: Semi-Finalist Interviews with Search Committee

April 2024: Finalists will be in Blacksburg for on-campus interview

May/June 2024: Announcement of new Dean