Purdue Names Two New Deans

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Karen Plaut (left) and Nancy Marchand-Martella (right) Karen Plaut (left) and Nancy Marchand-Martella (right)
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Purdue has chosen new deans of the Colleges of Education and Agriculture. Nancy Marchand-Martella will lead the College of Education and Karen Plaut will be the new Glen W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. 

Marchand-Martella will succeed Maryann Santos, who will return to her faculty appointment in July. She will take over the college at an important juncture, according to President Mitch Daniels. “Purdue’s teacher education program has never been more crucial, as our state’s economy and the world around us become increasingly STEM-focused. We want Purdue-trained teachers to be the best prepared anywhere, especially at teaching math and scientific disciplines, which today’s young people must master as never before.”

Marchand-Martella has been chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Oklahoma since 2016. The 1985 Purdue grad spent the previous 21 years in various positions at Eastern Washington University. In addition to her Purdue degree, she holds a Master of Science degree in behavior analysis and therapy from Southern Illinois University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Utah State University. 

Karen Plaut was selected from three finalists, and succeeds Jay Akridge, who became Purdue provost and chief diversity officer in 2017. Plaut has been interim dean of the College of Agriculture since July of last year. Prior to her time at Purdue, she worked at NASA as lead scientist for the International Space Station Biological Research Project. Plaut started at Purdue in 2010 as associate dean and director of agricultural research. She was named senior associate dean of research and faculty affairs in 2013. “I am grateful for the trust the university has placed in me to lead the College of Agriculture,” Plaut said. “Purdue didn’t become one of the premier agriculture programs by accident. It has a history of incredible leadership that can be seen through the achievements of the faculty, staff and students. I will challenge myself every day to build on that success.” 

Plaut received her Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from the University of Vermont, and also holds a Master of Science degree in animal nutrition from Penn State and a doctoral degree in animal science from Cornell University.  

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