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Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

Leading by example. Leveraging experience.

The leadership of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are also recognized leaders in their own fields, bringing invaluable insight and experience in fostering the continued success of CALS.

Benjamin Z. Houlton, The Ronald P. Lynch Dean

Benjamin Z. Houlton is the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Cornell University professor in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and of Global Development. An accomplished international scientist, his research interests include global ecosystem processes, climate change solutions, and agricultural sustainability. As founding co-chair of the California Collaborative for Climate Change solutions, Ben works with researchers from key research institutions to accelerate the translation of research findings into practical climate solutions. He also directs farmland carbon sequestration projects to improve crop yields and create new financial markets for farmers and ranchers. Ben has published more than 130 works including peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters and published abstracts as tracked by Google Scholar. As part of his mission to connect scientific discovery with the public, he is also a frequent guest on regional and national news programs. 

Beth A. Ahner, Senior Associate Dean

A professor of biological and environmental engineering, Beth Ahner's responsibilities include faculty affairs, department and program reviews, sponsored research oversight, management of core research funds, and academic aspects of facilities and human resources.

Esther Angert, Senior Associate Dean

A professor of microbiology, Esther Angert's responsibilities include faculty affairs, department and program reviews, sponsored research oversight, management of core research funds, and the academic aspects of facilities and human resources.

Sahara Byrne, Senior Associate Dean

A professor of communication, Sahara Byrne's responsibilities include student services, undergraduate admissions, professional programs and extended earning, and cross-college majors.

Assistant and Associate Deans

  • Tony Caudill, Assistant Dean
  • Sharon Detzer, Associate Dean
  • Ann LaFave, Assistant Dean
  • Jan Nyrop, Associate Dean
  • Peter Paradise, Associate Dean
  • Samara Sit, Associate Dean
  • Margaret Smith, Associate Dean
  • Chelsea Specht, Associate Dean
  • Julie Suarez, Associate Dean
  • Chris Watkins, Associate Dean