James J. Zuiches, a professor in Washington State University’s department of community and rural sociology and a former dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, will assume duties as vice chancellor for extension, engagement and economic development at North Carolina State University starting March 15.


In his new role, Zuiches will help lead and coordinate extension, engagement and economic development programs at NC State, including activities of the Cooperative Extension Service, Industrial Extension Service, Small Business and Technology Development Center, non-credit operations of the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, the Economic Development Partnership, and the H. Hugh Shelton Initiative for Leadership Development.


Zuiches came to WSU in1986 to become director of the Agricultural Research Center and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics. The college has since been renamed the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.


He took a year’s leave of absence in 1994 to serve as program director for food systems and rural development for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Mich.


In 1995 he was selected from among four finalists to serve as the dean of the CAHE and director of both Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Research Center. He served in that post until 2003, when he decided to step down.


“I am extremely proud of the quality of the faculty and staff that we’ve been able to hire over the years.  Obviously, getting the funding for the Safe Food Initiative, the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources and the learning centers helped make it possible, but it’s the people who deliver the programs that benefit the people and communities in Washington,” Zuiches reflected.


The state Legislature funded the Safe Food Initiative in 1999 to enhance the safety and market value of Washington state food products, while improving efficiency and reducing the environmental impacts of their production. The appropriation funds a variety of research and education positions in the colleges of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences; and Veterinary Medicine, and Sciences. The funding also helps the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration develop biological control and other alternatives to pesticide use.


Before coming to Washington State, Zuiches served at Cornell, Michigan State and the National Science Foundation. He is an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow.


Zuiches will retire from WSU in March. A public reception is scheduled from March 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Lewis Alumni Centre.