ACBS Director Becomes Wash. State University Ag College Dean

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Keating Bioresearch Building, detail (Photo by Edwin Remsberg)

University of Arizona School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences director André-Denis Wright will leave his post on May 22 to become dean of Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences on June 1.

Wright has served as director of ACBS, part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, since November 2014. The school was created in July 2013.

Under Wright’s leadership, three new academic degree programs have been launched within the school, a B.S. in food safety, B.S. in animal and biomedical industries, and M.S. in animal and biomedical industries. Each of these interdisciplinary degrees is designed to position students for a range of career options in the bioeconomy, such as feed and pharmacology business, biomedical research, global trade in food and the companion animal industry. The food safety degree, which will begin in fall 2018, targets workforce needs in vegetable production and border inspection, critical to Arizona’s $23.3 million agribusiness industry.  

“I’ve been very grateful for the opportunity to lead such an incredible school of gifted folks,” Wright said. “It is bittersweet to leave the team, but I know they are in good shape moving forward. I’m excited about the opportunities that await in my new position.”

During his tenure with ACBS, Wright hired four tenure-track faculty, three Extension faculty, five full-time career-track faculty and four new staff. He restructured the business office, hired a new manager, finance and administration, established a new culture of compliance and accountability and oversaw the restructure of the Food Product and Safety Lab. In the process of creating three new degree programs, ACBS faculty created 23 new courses and labs and significantly increased student credit hours. Wright also established a 2+2 program with Arizona Western College for students to complete their degree in Animal Science at the UA.

"The School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences has been very well served by Dr. Wright," said Shane Burgess, UA vice president of agriculture, life and veterinary sciences, and Cooperative Extension and CALS dean. “He demonstrated exemplary leadership and management. He led his faculty in expanding degree options for students in areas with growing industry demand, with equitable faculty workload assignments. He recognizes people for their unique contributions and established a solid financial foundation for the school. He leaves a legacy to be proud of and one I expect our next school director to build on. I wish him the very best at WSU."

Wright was named CALS Administrator of the Year in 2016.

A nationwide search has begun to identify the next school director. Jon Chorover, head of the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, chairs the search. An interim school director will be appointed. More information will be forthcoming.

Bethany Rutledge
Director of Administration and Communications, Office of the Vice President and Dean / CALS Administration