Mark Rickenbach named senior associate dean

Mark Rickenbach, professor and chair in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, has been named senior associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“I am pleased to welcome Mark to the administrative team,” says Dean Kate VandenBosch. “He has served as a department chair and a member of several significant committees, including co-chairing the college’s organizational redesign committee in 2016-2017.”

Rickenbach will replace Dick Straub, who became senior associate dean in 2013 and will continue in that role through the end of June. After July 1, Straub will step down as senior associate dean, but will continue working on CALS facilities projects through October 2019. Rickenbach will begin his new role in June, allowing an overlap to ensure a smooth transition.

Rickenbach joined CALS in 2000 as a faculty member and Extension specialist and was elected chair of forest and wildlife ecology department in 2015, following six years of service as associate chair. He served on the college’s Academic Planning Council and Strategic Planning Committee, and he is currently a fellow in the Office of the Provost.

In his research, Rickenbach uses social science to address Wisconsin-centered natural resources questions. Recent projects include assessing the capacity of the region’s logging businesses, understanding the values that Wisconsin residents hold about forests, and advancing silvopasture in Wisconsin. He served the state as an appointed member of the Wisconsin Council on Forestry.

He has taught or co-taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including Forest Operations for Forest Science undergraduates, and advised 14 graduate students. As chair, he spearheaded an effort to remodel the department’s main computer teaching laboratory to facilitate active, technology-based learning.

“This is an incredibly demanding role,” says Rickenbach, “But I welcome the challenge and the chance to further contribute to the success of CALS.”

As senior associate dean, Rickenbach will assist the dean in matters pertaining to leadership, management and strategic direct of the college. He will take the lead on faculty personnel issues, including hiring, promotion, tenure and post-tenure activities, compensation and retention; as well as overseeing CALS Global and facilities, health and safety.