Fellows Honored at APLU Meeting

The Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellows Honored by Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)

Twenty-three Fellows of the Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) were honored during a virtual ceremony at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The Fellows were recognized for their accomplishments in completing the FSLI executive leadership development program and for contributions they have made to their individual organizations and the broader higher education and food systems.

The FSLI is a 2-year program designed for experienced leaders in academia, government, and industry. Through a dynamic curriculum that includes three executive style residential sessions, individual coaching, mentoring, and personal projects, the FSLI seeks to enhance personal leadership ability, develop skills and knowledge for organizational change, and broaden perspectives on integrated food systems.

Fellows report that the FSLI experience has had a significant impact on their leadership abilities. Leadership growth can be measured in many different ways, and more than forty percent of the FSLI Fellow Alumni have experienced promotions, selection to lead high-profile initiatives, election to university-wide leadership posts, and other recognitions. Other Fellows are using their enhanced leadership and broader food systems perspectives to lead change from their current positions.

The FSLI is a program of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. It was created with financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is operated in a partnership between North Carolina State University, The Ohio State University, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. More information on the FSLI is available at

The Fellows honored include: 

Paula Agudelo

Associate Dean for Research & Experiment Station Director, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Clemson University

Cindy Akers

Interim Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University

Kimberly Allen

Associate Director Academic Programs, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, (Currently serving as Interim Associate Dean of Academic Programs) NC State University

Richard Bischoff

Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Academic Leader Success, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Doze Y. Butler

Dean/Director, School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences,  The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Currently serving as Professor of Merchandising, Textiles and Design, Department of Human Sciences)

Francis Casey

Associate Director, ND Agricultural Experiment Station, (Currently serving as Director of the School of Natural Resource Sciences)  North Dakota State University

Courtney Colombo

Section Manager, Abbott Nutrition

Tracy Dougher

Associate Dean for Academic Programs, College of Agriculture, Montana State University

Majed El-Dweik

Dean/1890 Director, Coop Research and Extension, College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences Professor in Biological Engineering Lincoln University of Missouri (Currently serving as Vice President of Research and Economic Development at Alabama A&M University)

Jason Ellis

Department Head and Professor, Department of Communications and Agricultural Education, College of Agriculture, Kansas State University

Antomia Farrell

Assistant Dean and Director for Diversity, ( Currently serving as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky

Lynette Flage

Associate Director, North Dakota State University Extension

Donald Grebner

George L. Switzer Professor of Forestry and Department Head of Forestry, College of Forest Resources, Mississippi State University

Sarah Lovell

H.E. Garrett Endowed Chair Professor and Director, Center for Agroforestry School of Natural Resources University of Missouri

Ralph Noble

Dean, (Currently providing leadership for special projects for the College) College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, Fort Valley State University

Ami Smith

Associate Vice President for Public Service and Director of Extension, (Currently serving as VP and Dean and Director for Agricultural Research and Extension),  West Virginia State University

Elizabeth Strand

All Creatures Great and Small Endowed, Clinical Associate Professor Director, Veterinary Social Work, Colleges of Veterinary Medicine & Social Work, University of Tennessee

Jeanette Thurston

Director, and Professor, Food Science Institute, (Currently serving as Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and New Faculty Development and Director and Professor, Food Science Institute),  Kansas State University

Deb VanOverbeke

Assistant Dean, Academic Programs, Ferguson College of Agriculture, Oklahoma State University

Brian Warnick

Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Services, (Currently serving as Interim Department Head, Department of Technology, Design and Technical Education) College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Utah State University

Louis Whitesides

VP & Executive Director of Land Grant Programs, South Carolina State University

Wesley Whittaker

Dean and Director of Land Grant Programs, School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Langston University

De’Shoin York

Vice Chancellor, Extension and Outreach,  Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center