Rick Ludescher Appointed Dean of Academic Programs

Rick Ludescher Appointed Dean of Academic Programs

Innovative administrator to steward academic priorities and develop novel educational collaborations

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Richard D. Ludescher has been named dean of academic programs at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers, effective immediately. As dean, he is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate programs of the school following the appointment of Jerome J. Kukor as the permanent dean of the Graduate School–New Brunswick last month.

Ludescher, who joined the faculty at Rutgers in 1988, is a respected member of the Food Science faculty and served as the first Campus Dean of Undergraduate Education at the university, assigned to the George H. Cook Campus.

Rick Ludescher and glider

Rick Ludescher (back row, third from left) pose with Rutgers glider, RU27, university colleagues and undergraduates in Baiona, Spain, in 2009.

“Rick has become the leader of the office of Academic Programs at a time of exciting academic innovation established by his predecessor, Dean Jerry Kukor,” said Robert. M. Goodman, executive dean of the school. “He has served admirably since fall 2006 as the pioneer in the campus dean positions that were created during the historic transformation of undergraduate education at Rutgers and I have every confidence that he will meet the challenge of this new position.”

The newly created campus dean positions were designed to build and maintain a sense of academic community and learning environments on each of the campuses of Rutgers–New Brunswick by enhancing the intellectual life of undergraduates outside the classroom.

“Being appointed as academic dean for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is a great honor and an enormous challenge,” said Ludescher. “This is an important time and I am thrilled to be in a position to influence and enhance how we do science and science policy education at the school."

Ludescher will be responsible for enhancing existing admission standards and expanding the physical and social infrastructure for support and delivery of education for the school. In addition, he is charged with developing novel educational collaborations with other units across Rutgers–New Brunswick such as the Douglass Residential College and encouraging international experiences for undergraduates. His goal is to seamlessly integrate the Raritan River Initiative and the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health into the undergraduate curriculum.

As campus dean, he was instrumental in starting the Weather Watchers Living Learning Community and in producing the award-winning documentary film, Atlantic Crossing: A Robot’s Daring Mission, about the first crossing of an ocean basin by an autonomous underwater robot (glider). The making of the documentary is, in large part, the result of Ludescher’s initiation and support of the innovative collaboration between filmmaker Dena Seidel and her students at Writers House in the Rutgers Department of English and the faculty and students of the Coastal Ocean Observation Laboratory (COOL) at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. Broadcast on more than half the public television stations in the U.S., so far, the documentary has been exposed to a potential audience of 160 million viewers.

He received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Iowa in 1973 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oregon in 1984. He taught at Wichita State University for one year before joining Rutgers University in 1988 as an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science. He served as the department’s undergraduate program director from 1993-1998 and graduate program director from 2000-2003.

Ludescher is a physical chemist who studies the physical properties of proteins, carbohydrates and other biomaterials in the solid state and uses luminescence to investigate the molecular basis of food quality and safety. He has won 12 teaching awards including the Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award from the Graduate School–New Brunswick and the Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in College and University Teaching Award from the Northeastern Region, U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is the founder and current editor-in-chief of the journal Food Biophysics.

Ludescher is a long time resident of Somerset, New Jersey, and his son Samuel will be attending Rutgers University as a first-year student in fall 2011.

Media Contact: Paula Walcott-Quintin
732-932-7000, ext.4204
E-mail: quintin@aesop.rutgers.edu