Greg Cuomo has joined Utah State University as the new associate dean of research and graduate Student Services in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. He previously served in the same position and other administrative roles at the University of Minnesota for more than 20 years.
While Cuomo has a Ph.D. in agronomy and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in range science and management, his mission during his time at Minnesota was to identify ways in which the university could better support students and faculty in their research and careers. He now plans to do the same thing at Utah State — with the understanding that what works at one university doesn’t always work at another.
“What I hope to do here in the first few months is just a lot of listening,” Cuomo said. “My job title may be the same, but some of the things that may have worked in my old position aren’t necessarily the most important things here. I think my job is to enable other people to reach their potential, so my goal is just to get a sense of the people in the college and what they'd like to see from someone in my position.”
Cuomo already has some plans in mind, such as a series of short YouTube videos that faculty and graduate students can reference while going through the process of applying for grants, but for the most part, he wants to avoid committing to projects before he’s certain they’re needed at USU. However, whatever he decides is certain to be aimed at the college as a whole instead of just one department.
“I look for where there’s a role to play between Dean Ken White and the departments in terms of research and graduate programs,” Cuomo said. “How do we give faculty the tools and knowledge to make connections across the college that will help them be successful in the future? How do we help them be good mentors and communicate well with grad students? And how do we set up inclusive workplaces where they can work across disciplines?”
The motto Cuomo used to encapsulate his philosophy — one he adopted before coming to Utah, the Beehive State — is that what’s good for the hive is good for the bees. While he’s interested in producing short-term success, his main objective is creating a foundation for the long-term flourishing of people in the college.
“One example of this is how the faculty and staff here were phenomenally successful in writing grants and getting funding last year,” Cuomo said. “So how do we continue that? How do we provide the tools so that it’s not a blip, but rather just how the college functions? What framework do we need for those things to happen?”
Cuomo is especially eager to help early- to mid-career faculty and staff who have the potential to do great things but may need help balancing their responsibilities and navigating academia.
“They’re already leaders when we hire them,” Cuomo said. “They’ve proven that by getting to the point of being one of the few selected to work at CAAS, but telling someone they’re a leader doesn’t necessarily help them. To go back to the beehive analogy, it’s a matter of working with the bees, with all their disciplines and perspectives, and trying to bring them together for the greater good. The goal is to get them to recognize their own potential and that helping others be successful is also one of the best ways for them to be successful.”
Cuomo credits students and faculty as the true drivers of innovation and discovery at USU, and their passion in turn is what makes his job so fulfilling.
“The college addresses society's grand challenges,” Cuomo explained. “How do we feed a growing world population? How do we use water in the best way possible? How do we sustain our natural resources? Through the innovation that comes out of the very bright people in this college, we have an opportunity to shape our world going forward.”
Writer and Marketing Assistant
College of Veterinary Medicine
Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Student Services
College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
TOPICSFaculty 239stories Agriculture 184stories New Leadership 8stories
Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.