NEWS RELEASE

Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Names New Dean of Agricultural and Urban Programs

As part of a concerted effort to reinvigorate the Agricultural Science major at Rutgers University, Mark Robson, director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) has accepted a new position as dean of agricultural and urban programs in Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

November 17, 2008

New Brunswick, N.J. --As part of a concerted effort to reinvigorate the Agricultural Science major at Rutgers University, Mark Robson, director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) has accepted a new position as dean of agricultural and urban programs in Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

As dean of agricultural programs, Robson will oversee the reimagining and revitalization of undergraduate agricultural education at the school. With these new responsibilities, Robson will hand over the reins of NJAES leadership to Larry Katz, director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and Brad Hillman, senior associate director of NJAES and director of Cooperative Research. While their titles will not change, Katz's and Hillman's responsibilities and authority for leadership will be expanded in their respective areas of cooperative extension and research. Both will report directly to NJAES Executive Director Robert M. Goodman. Robson will continue to be a professor in the Department of Entomology and will likewise report directly to Goodman.

Moving forward, Robson will work closely with Jerry Kukor, dean of academic programs and research; faculty in several departments; extension agents throughout the state; and the Office of Academic Affairs. Building on his ability to forge strong partnerships, Robson will also engage practitioners in the field, government partners, county college partners, and likeminded institutions.

"For some time now, Mark and I have discussed the role of the experiment station and school in supporting agricultural education," said Goodman, who is the university's executive dean of agriculture and natural resources. "We both see agriculture as an essential facet of our school's legacy and future and we're very excited about this new endeavor."

The new agricultural science major aims to appeal to those who are interested in an entrepreneurial and innovative education in the agricultural sciences. The major will target students who seek careers in agricultural education and extension, government service, and agribusiness as well as those preparing to be an owner/operator of a farming enterprise. Areas of focus will include controlled-environment agriculture, agricultural policy and entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, and niche agriculture, including agro-tourism, community-supported agriculture, and sustainable agriculture.

"Agriculture in New Jersey today is populated with growers who are entrepreneurial and willing to try new things and take calculated risks," noted Robson. "We aim to tap into that community as we do our part to educate a new generation of such growers and allied professionals."

Robson has been director of Rutgers NJAES since 2006, and in that time has worked to better define the experiment station's mission and vision, as well as its programmatic areas. Robson has led the way for the experiment station to build upon its core focus areas by establishing new programs and centers. As director, Robson oversaw the launch of the Center for Vector Biology and has moved NJAES toward greater urban extension programming.

"Mark's time as the director of the experiment station has been nothing short of transformative," Goodman said. "As a member of a well-known New Jersey farming family, his extensive contacts within the state's ag community have helped to open doors and minds to all that the experiment station has to offer. Mark has developed warm and collegial relationships with faculty across the university, as well as with county boards of agriculture, the State Board of Agriculture, members of commodity groups, and others who have a vested interest in New Jersey agriculture. I know that he will bring this same energy and forward thinking to his new position."

Robson received his B.S. in agricultural science from Cook College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant science from Rutgers' Graduate School. Early in his career, he held positions with Rutgers Cooperative Extension. He has subsequently held positions with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. In 1995, Mark received his M.P.H. in environmental health from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-School of Public Health. Prior to joining Rutgers NJAES, Robson was an associate professor and chair in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and assistant dean of student affairs at UMDNJ-School of Public Health.
Contact: Amanda Kolling
Office of Communication
848-932-7000


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences