School of Agriculture expands with new Associate Dean

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May 23, 2017
Lakeland College’s School of Agricultural Sciences is growing with a new associate dean position
Geoff Brown, animal science technology program head, has accepted the three-year term position, effective July 1, to meet the demand of day-to-day operations. Enrolment in the school increased to 473 students, an increase of 12 per cent from the 2015-2016 academic year. Because of strong application numbers, it’s expected that enrolment will increase again in the fall.

Brown will be responsible day to day management of the school and the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland, under Josie Van Lent, who remains as the school’s Dean. Josie Van Lent and Geoff Brown

“It is a really good opportunity for me to mentor under Josie. It gives me a chance to take on some of her roles and responsibilities, with some guidance,” says Brown. “We have high student numbers, which is a good thing, but can be a challenge at times in terms of maintaining the quality of educational experiences. That has to be a major focus on how we adjust our systems and structures, so we can maintain quality and be successful.”

The new position will also provide opportunity for Van Lent to focus on larger strategic initiatives for the school, including industry liaison and partnerships, on-going work on capital projects such as the Dairy Learning Centre and Animal Health Clinic builds, and support for agriculture-related fundraising campaigns.

Brown joined Lakeland College as an instructor in the animal science technology program in 2010 and has served as acting program head for the last five years. Prior to joining Lakeland College, Brown worked in the feed industry for over 10 years as a cattle and horse nutritionist for major feed companies - Cargill Animal Nutrition, Unifeed (now Viterra Feed Products) and Roche Vitamins Inc. He earned a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Alberta.

He is also the owner and operator of a small ranch near Edmonton very active with Lakeland’s Rodeo Club.

“I find Geoff to be really supportive of Lakeland's strategies and especially those recognized as being important as we move forward,” says Van Lent. “He is a strategic thinker, and has natural leadership abilities. He is good with people, and has strong industry experience. That has been a part of our success here, and we want to make sure that continues.”

Van Lent also appreciates Brown’s natural ability to connect with students, and his ability to focus on their goals as well as the goals of the school.

“Our school is ready for this, and it is refreshing to see this change. It’s important for us to develop succession planning and develop strong leaders for the future,” says Van Lent.

Photo: Geoff Brown (L-R), animal science technology program head, and Josie Van Lent, Lakeland's dean of the School of Agricultural Sciences, pictured in the Quad at the Vermilion campus. Brown accepted the three-year term position of associate dean, effective July 1, to meet the demand of day-to-day operations.