MANHATTAN, KANSAS, US — After a lengthy national search, Kansas State University’s (KSU) College of Agriculture announced on May 20 that Dr. Joseph Awika has been named head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry and director of the International Grain Program Institute. An internationally renowned food scientist, Awika also will serve as director of KSU’s Food Science Institute.

Awika, whose tenure begins on Aug. 18, joins KSU from Texas A&M University, where he has been the head of that university’s Department of Food Science and Technology.

“I am looking forward to working with Dr. Awika and supporting him to implement his forward-looking vision for the department,” said Ernie Minton, KSU’s Eldon Gideon Dean of the College of Agriculture, and director of KSU Research and Extension. “Joe is known internationally for his excellence in research and in the classroom. His experience will build upon and grow our world-renowned programs in grain and food sciences.

“I have no doubt he will carry forward the tradition of excellence for all three of these organizations and continue accelerating the momentum the university has as we begin building the Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation.”

Minton added: “I also want to thank Dr. Hulya Dogan for her leadership and dedication serving as interim department head during the past two years.”

Dogan replaced Gordon Smith, who from 2015-22 had been department head of Grain Science and Industry, which specializes in milling, baking, feed and pet food.

Awika, who received his undergraduate degree at Egerton University, Kenya and doctoral degree in food science and technology from Texas A&M, has won several prestigious awards in recent years, including the IFT achievement award for International Food Security in 2021 and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Association of Cereal Chemists International in 2016.

He will begin his tenure amid KSU’s $210 millionagriculture infrastructure upgrade, a project that includes erecting the new Global Center for Grain and Food Innovation. KSU officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 17 for the facility, which is expected to be completed by the fall of 2026.