March 13, 2020
I am pleased to share with you the now complete NJAES senior leadership structure, as well as a change to the SEBS leadership structure, that are designed to increase operational effectiveness and efficiency, research excellence, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Effective July 1, NJAES will be led by three, co-equal senior associate directors: Wendie Cohick, who was recently announced as the Director of Research; Brian Schilling, who since 2018 has served as the Director of Cooperative Extension; and Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, who has agreed to serve in the newly-created position of Director of Administration and Strategic Development.
In addition to Wendie’s role as Director of Research for NJAES, she will also serve as Dean of Research and Graduate Programs for SEBS. She will have primary responsibility for overseeing the SEBS & NJAES research portfolio with the goal of achieving research excellence for both. This distinctly includes enhancing research administration to facilitate successful submissions for NSF, NIH, USDA and other federal funding, including USDA capacity funds; promoting interdisciplinary research collaborations among SEBS & NJAES faculty and across the university; coordinating the missions of SEBS-based institutes and centers with NJAES and departmental research goals; and managing strategic investment in research infrastructure and core facilities. She will serve as the liaison between the School of Graduate Studies and our SEBS-based graduate programs with the goal of strengthening graduate and post-doctoral training.
In her new role as Director of Administration and Strategic Development, Peggy will have authority for strategically deploying and utilizing NJAES assets and budgets for on- and off-campus farms, research stations, incubators, and auxiliary units. She will work in concert with unit leadership to achieve the following: maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of operations; enable the support of cutting-edge research and outreach; and generate and promote meaningful economic development impacts. Peggy will collaborate with the NJAES directors of Research and Cooperative Extension, as well as the Associate Dean of Planning and Budgets, in these efforts. Additionally, Peggy will lead NJAES economic development programming, vastly expand NJAES state and federal government relations activities, as well as enhance NJAES engagement within the broader Rutgers New Brunswick community.
This is a position for which Peggy is well-suited, having established the first university-wide Office of Economic Development, which she led as Associate Vice President for Economic Development from 2010 through June 2019. She also has oversight of the university’s internationally renowned business incubators–Rutgers Food Innovation Center which she established, and the Rutgers EcoComplex, as well as the NJAES Office of Research Analytics.
Peggy has been an integral part of our SEBS/NJAES community for more than 20 years and, since 2006, has served as an Associate Director of NJAES. Prior to 2006, she was Associate Dean of Research for Cook College and a member of DAFRE. She has secured over 40 grants totaling more than $28 million, while external funding awarded for programs she oversees exceeds $60 million. Her work has been recognized at the university, state, and national levels. She is an economist specializing in economic development and entrepreneurship, impact assessment, bioenergy economics and policy. Peggy earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics, master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, and a doctoral degree in Planning and Public Policy from Rutgers.
Under Brian’s leadership, Rutgers Cooperative Extension continues to deliver responsive, science-based educational programming in agriculture, environmental and resource stewardship, youth development, personal and family health, and other areas of need that helps New Jersey residents and communities.
Please join me in wishing Peggy and Wendie well in their new roles and offering our collective wishes for the success of the entire NJAES senior leadership team!
Robert M. Goodman,
Executive Director, NJAES