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SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Announces New Leadership

The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) recently announced its new dean, Joseph Cassady, on June 21. Serving as head of the Department of Animal Science at SDSU since 2013 and more recently the interim head of the Department of Dairy and Food Science since June of 2020, Cassady brings a wealth of experience to his new leadership role.
Serving alongside Cassady is newly named Associate Dean of Academic Programs for CAFES Vikram Mistry. Mistry came to SDSU in 1986 and led the Department of Dairy and Food Science as the David A. Thompson Endowed Department Head and Professor since 2002. Most recently, he has served as the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Programs for CAFES since June of 2020.
Also serving alongside Cassady and Mistry are SDSU alumni William Gibbons, Karla Trautman, Lora Berg and Kristi Cammack. 
Gibbons began his career at SDSU in 1987 shortly after completing his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees. He has served as the interim director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and Associate Dean for Research since 2017 and most recently transitioned into those roles permanently in January of 2020.
Trautman came to SDSU in 1988 after completing her undergraduate degree in 1987 and became the interim director of SDSU Extension in 2016 before being named director in June of 2019.
Berg, a 1988 alum, started her career at SDSU as the director of marketing and communications for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences in 2015 a few years before it was renamed and restructured to become the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences in 2018.
Cammack, a 1999 alum, began her career at SDSU in 2016 when she was hired as an associate professor and the director of the West River Ag Center, now known as West River Research and Extension. In 2020, she became a professor and assumed two additional director roles for the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies and the Wizipan Leadership and Sustainability Program.
Completing the college executive team is Eric Exner, who recently began his employment at SDSU as the new director of the Agriculture Shared Service Center in July of 2022. In this new role, Exner will be responsible for managing the operational function of the Center to oversee accountability and resources related to CAFES academic programs, the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and SDSU Extension.
 “The CAFES leadership team has enjoyed great stability over the past 5 years,” said Cassady. “I am grateful for the talented individuals who have stepped up to serve in critical leadership roles. We are also fortunate to have service minded leaders to serve in interim roles as several departments within the college are in leadership transition.”
Following Cassady’s new appointment as dean, Robert Thaler, Distinguished Professor, and Sanjeev Anand, professor, have transitioned to interim roles to lead the departments Cassady previously directed. Thaler is now serving as interim head of the Department of Animal Science and Anand is currently serving as the interim head of the Department of Dairy and Food Science. 
Also newly appointed to Cassady’s leadership team is Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan, Distinguished Professor, who has served as the interim head of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering since May of 2022 following the retirement of previous department head Van Kelley.
Completing the CAFES leadership team are faculty members David Wright, professor and head of the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science, Michele Dudash, professor and head of the Department of Natural Resource Management and Angela Pillatzki, professor, head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and director of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory.
“I am very excited to have such a talented leadership team leading CAFES,” said Cassady. “It is an exciting time in teaching, research and Extension.”
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