March 28, 2010

Professor Max Pfeffer Appointed as CALS Senior Associate Dean

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Prof. Max Pfeffer, development sociology, was named senior associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences last Monday. Pfeffer will serve a three year term beginning April 12. He is taking the place of Barbara Knuth, who was named vice provost and dean of the Graduate School two weeks ago.

Pfeffer has been at Cornell since 1993, when he joined as an assistant professor in rural sociology. Since then, he has served in a variety of administrative roles, in addition to being a professor. Pfeffer was previously the associate director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station and the Center for the Environment. He is also currently the co-director of the Community and Rural Development Institute.

Pfeffer is well-respected by his peers for his hard work and commitment to academia.

“[Pfeffer] is a very good scholar, and a very experienced administrator,” said Prof. Tom Hirschl, developmental sociology, and undergraduate program director of the department. “He’s the best that Cornell has to offer.”

Hirschl has worked with Pfeffer since they attended the same graduate school –– the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pfeffer also authored a chapter in one of Hirschl’s books, and Hirschl emphasized Pfeffer’s abilities as a dialogue booster.

“He’s a very complex, sophisticated intellectual,” Hirschl said. “He knows a lot about social science, and the interface between social science and the environment. The ability to talk about and exchange ideas is important, and that’s what Max is committed to.”

As senior associate dean, Pfeffer will provide oversight for half of the programs in CALS, with the other half being administrated by the college’s other senior associate dean, Jan Nyrop. Part of Pfeffer’s role will be ensuring that the recently outlined strategic plan for each department is successfully carried out, and also that the budget is aligned fairly.

“I am honored to serve CALS in this capacity at this critical point in its history,” Pfeffer told the University. “CALS has offered me an incredibly fertile environment to pursue my academic interests by addressing real-world problems. I look forward to the opportunity to help others realize their professional aspirations and to fulfill the public mission of the college.”

Original Author: Brendan Doyle