Dean named for Cal Poly's College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences

Andrew Thulin
Andrew Thulin Courtesy photo

Andrew Thulin, who has served as interim dean of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences since last July, has been named dean.

Thulin, 58, is an alumnus of Cal Poly’s animal science department and 16-year veteran of its faculty. Before assuming the interim post, he led the college’s animal science department for 15 years.

“Andy brings a proven track record of successful leadership and strong relationships with industry partners to this role,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said in a news release. “He knows the power of Learn by Doing from the perspective of a student and a faculty member. His background makes him uniquely qualified to lead the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences into the future.”

The College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences has 184 faculty members and an annual budget of $19.5 million. Each year, the college’s 10 departments offer undergraduate and master’s degrees in 16 majors and 22 minors to about 4,000 students.

Kathleen Enz Finken, Cal Poly’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said in the news release that Thulin’s “talents for strategic planning and developing beneficial alliances will ensure that Cal Poly continues to produce the creative problem-solvers our workforce demands.”

Thulin, a 1977 graduate of Cal Poly, earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in nutrition at Kansas State University.

Before joining the faculty at Cal Poly, Thulin held an appointment in extension, research and teaching at Michigan State University and worked for seven years as manager of worldwide technology deployment for Cargill Inc.

Under his 15-year leadership, the animal sciences department implemented a new strategic vision that led to a significant expansion of facilities, faculty and staff. Graduation rates increased to nearly 90 percent, and more than $16 million was raised for new laboratories and the construction of a new Beef Center, Animal Nutrition Center and Meat Processing Center, among other buildings, according to Cal Poly.

In a prepared statement Thulin said he’s looking forward to “continuing our efforts to make sure the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences is a place where students, faculty and staff feel empowered and invested in achieving excellence every day.”

Thulin succeeds David Wehner, who served as dean of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences from 2002 to 2013. Wehner, who has spent the past year serving as Cal Poly’s interim vice president for strategic initiatives, will retire at the end of the academic year in June.