Chancellor Biddy Martin appointed an interim vice dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Friday who will stand in for former dean Molly Jahn while she serves as an appointee in the United States Department of Agriculture.

Irwin Goldman, the interim CALS appointee, has been involved in administration with CALS since 2004, and has held positions as associate dean for research and his latest position as vice dean, which he has held for three years.

As a 17-year faculty member, he has also continued to teach horticulture classes and conduct research while in administrative roles.

Goldman was one of three final candidates considered for the provost’s position, prior to Paul DeLuca Jr.’s appointment.

Goldman said he is eager for the opportunity provided by the position.

“I’m very honored by the appointment,” he said. “I have a great fondness for the college and the whole UW-Madison, and I just feel serving the college in this way is going to be a terrific experience.”

Goldman added part of the reason for his enthusiasm is the progress that has been

made within CALS, specifically in coordination with current CALS dean. Jahn.

“We developed a great working relationship and a lot of good things happened at the college,” Goldman said. “I would love to keep up that momentum.”

Goldman was selected as a result of Jahn accepting a position with the USDA, which begins Nov. 9.

Jahn was granted a one-year leave of absence by Martin in order to pursue the USDA position, leaving a void at the head of CALS.

Michael Penn, director of publications for the office of external affairs at CALS, said for interim appointments such as this one, the chancellor may consult the provost or others for advice but the decision is ultimately hers.

“The chancellor gets to make that decision on her own because it is just an interim position,” Penn said. “When they have a permanent vacancy that they need to fill then they start a formal search process.”

Due to the conditions of Jahn’s absence, she would be able to return as dean at any point during the one-year period. Should she choose to stay with the USDA, the position would then be formally opened and a search process would begin.

As far as continuing the deanship past this year, Goldman said he enjoys the more detail-oriented aspects of his job as vice dean, which makes him slightly skeptical about the broader duties of the deanship.

The obligations of the dean focus more on representing the college as opposed to research administration and compliance, which Goldman said are more involved aspects of the vice deanship.

Despite this apprehension, Goldman felt he needed to be subjected to the responsibilities of the position before deciding if he would pursue it long-term.

“I’m very much going to go into this with open eyes and just see how it feels,” he said.