Orth to serve as dean of CAFES at UW-River Falls

Wisconsin State Farmer

Michael Orth will return to Wisconsin to assume his new duties on June 1, 2023 as the next dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He succeeds Dale Gallenberg, who retired in October.  Dean Olson continue in his role as interim CAFES dean through the end of May. 

Dr. Michael Orth

In his role as dean, Orth will provide leadership to a college which has maintained a reputation for excellence and service since 1912. Ranked as one of the top undergraduate agricultural programs in the nation, CAFES offers high-demand programs like the ABET-accredited agricultural engineering and environmental engineering and is home to one of the largest dairy science programs in the nation. Other popular programs in the college span from agricultural education to conservation, horticulture and agricultural business. 

“Dr. Orth has the ideal skillset and experience for this position," said David Travis, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UW-River Falls.  

Orth has been a faculty member at Texas Tech University in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, where he also served as department chair for eight years. Prior to that, he was a faculty member at Michigan State University. Throughout his career he has been active as a researcher on livestock species and has been a dedicated service-provider to his profession, including serving as an officer for the National Block & Bridle organization for 11 years with the last three as president.  

“I am beyond excited to serve as the next dean of CAFES,” said Orth. “The focus of the college on experiential learning, community outreach, and applied research align with the values I believe are critical for this generation of students.”  

Orth’s experience developing new curriculum and co-curricular programming for his students is well-aligned with CAFES areas of excellence and the needs of the greater community. His emphasis on experiential learning makes him an excellent choice for UW-River Falls, where CAFES already exemplifies the institutional ideal of being student-centered.

“I am looking forward to getting to know faculty, staff, students, alumni and stakeholders and working with all to continue to build on the great reputation this college and university earned and enjoy. It is also fitting for me that my academic journey which began in Madison finds its way back to Wisconsin,” said Orth, who holds a Ph.D. in nutrition sciences from UW-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Iowa.