Letter from the Department Head

Having arrived in my new position as Head of the Food Science and Nutrition department at the
University of Minnesota at the beginning of Fall 2019, I am having a great time learning about
all that is going on in the department. I have been welcomed to numerous events, meetings,
and classes in my time here so far. Through those, I have developed an understanding of where
our department is strong: in innovation to support the development of sustainable, healthy and
enjoyable foods and in providing a platform to address issues and opportunities relating to diet,
health and cultural diversity.
My current priorities in my role as Department Head are to foster an academic climate that
supports the intellectual and professional development of our students and to strengthen the
basis that our faculty needs to drive research in the multidisciplinary context of food science
and nutrition. Apart from addressing resource needs, this involves the development of cross
departmental collaborations and the strengthening of the aspects of our program that address
current issues relating to food sustainability, health and the diversity of our programs. Another
high priority is to connect with our stakeholders in Minnesota and beyond – including
institutions, industries and the various communities that we serve.
I look to the future with confidence. Our student numbers are steady, and both food science
and nutrition have significant potential for growth. We have started to look at ways to improve
the experience for our undergraduate as well as graduate students. This includes additional
hands-on courses, internships, holistic advising and developing even more financial support for
our students. We will be welcoming a new professor in Medical Nutrition Therapy in the
summer of 2020 and we have several motivated new staff members starting this Fall. I am
much looking forward to working with the team in the Department, strengthening the presence
of our programs on campus, and maximizing their impact for our communities.
I am looking forward to hearing from you as well. Do not hesitate to contact me with any query
or suggestion concerning our programs, research or public engagement activities.