Sarah Pfatteicher has been appointed associate dean for academic affairs in the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). In this position she will provide leadership for the college’s undergraduate programs, Farm and Industry Short Course, and distance education and international student activities.
“Sarah brings 16 years of diverse student affairs and academic affairs administrative experience to this position,” says CALS Dean Kate VandenBosch. “Her commitment to higher education and her strong track record leading both people and projects is evident to all who know her.
“This position is critical within the college, especially during a time when we are seeing record student enrollments and increasing demands for workers with the skills our students demonstrate upon graduation,” VandenBosch adds.
Pfatteicher has served as interim associate dean for the past 17 months. Prior to that, she was the senior assistant dean in the CALS Office of Undergraduate Programs and Services. Before coming to CALS, she served in a variety of positions in the College of Engineering, including assistant dean in academic affairs and the director of assessment.
CALS currently has an enrollment of 3,059 undergraduates—the largest in the college’s 123-year history—and overall instructional budget of $18.8 million. The college offers 23 majors in a broad range of disciplines that prepare graduates for jobs in fields related to agriculture, human health and nutrition, energy, natural resources and community development.
“This is an exciting time for CALS. Our majors are among the most popular on campus,” says Pfatteicher. “But we also face financial challenges and competition from new models for education, such as for-profit schools and massive open on-line courses. Our challenge is to continue offering high quality programs and student services while also adapting to this changing landscape. I’m looking forward to partnering with my colleagues in CALS and beyond to find creative solutions to accomplish this.”
While serving as interim associate dean, Pfatteicher oversaw implementation of the first major update of the college’s curriculum since the 1980s, which streamlined the degree structure and added a first-year seminar to improve students’ transition to the university. Under her leadership, the office also piloted a new electronic advisor notes system, now deployed across the campus.
“I am grateful to everyone involved in this process—the excellent candidates who applied, the members of the search committee and those who attended presentations— who raised and discussed issues important for our future,” says Dean VandenBosch. “It was a pleasure to see the CALS community engage in an active dialog about the future of our academic programs and student services.”
Pfatteicher will formally assume the role on January 1, 2013.