Teresa Balser appointed dean of UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Wisconsin-Madison administrator has been selected as dean of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF officials announced today.

Teresa Balser, director of the UW-Madison Institute for Biology Education, was named to lead the college by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. She begins July 1. Balser will also be a professor with the soil and water science department.

“Dr. Balser has great vision for the revitalization of the land grant ideals,” Payne said. “She also brings a great passion for teaching and a wonderful enthusiasm for positioning higher education to be leaders in the coming age by leveraging our capacity for creativity and growing diversity.”

Balser said she looks forward to the opportunities and challenges the position provides, and plans to place special emphasis on critical issues such as food and energy security.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be selected,” Balser said. “CALS has so many strengths to build upon. I am excited about the possibilities for the future, and I look forward to joining the Gator Nation and working with all of our students, staff and faculty.”

Balser said as the new CALS dean, she will continue the exceptional and personalized learning experience the college offers as well as expand upon the opportunities for students to discover the ways agricultural and life sciences are critical to improving the quality of life for everyone.

Balser will oversee all aspects of the college’s undergraduate and graduate education programs, which involve about 5,100 students and 760 faculty members on the UF main campus in Gainesville as well as 13 research and education centers throughout the state.

The college includes 24 undergraduate majors, more than 50 areas of specialization and 23 graduate majors.

Since 2008, Balser has directed the UW-Madison Institute for Cross-college Biology Education, a campuswide institute focused on undergraduate education and public outreach. She has been a faculty member in UW-Madison’s department of soil science since 2001.

Her other recent positions at UW-Madison include faculty associate with the Office of Human Resource Development and faculty affiliate with several academic programs. She is currently a leadership development coordinator with the American Society of Agronomy.

In 2010, Balser was named U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor category. She is also the recipient of the National Excellence in College and University Teaching Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2009.

She was awarded a doctorate in soil microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000 and bachelor’s degrees in biology and earth sciences from Dartmouth College in 1992.

Balser is the first woman appointed to lead the UF college; she succeeds Mark Rieger, CALS interim dean since September 2010.

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Contacts

Writer: Robert H. Wells, rhwells@ufl.edu, 352-273-3569

Source: Jack Payne, jackpayne@ufl.edu, 352-392-1971

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Teresa Balser has been appointed dean of UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Photo credit: Peck Studios