Provost Lynnette Zelezny has named Dr. Dennis Nef, a veteran Fresno State professor and administrator, as her top assistant. Nef will begin as vice provost (a position previously called associate provost) on Aug. 1.

The position most recently was held by Zelezny and has been vacant since she became provost and vice president for academic affairs on June 1.

“Dr. Nef will be outstanding in this role, which includes leadership on academic affairs budget and operations, technology, accreditation, grants and faculty development,” said Zelezny. He also will serve on the president’s Cabinet.

“Dr. Nef  brings significant experience in academic affairs, including service as an interim provost. He also has deep roots in agriculture as an agricultural economist,” Zelezny said. “He exemplifies unquestioned integrity, a stellar work ethic and has the trust of the faculty, staff and students at Fresno State.”

Nef served as interim provost for five months in 2009. He joined the university faculty in 1983 and has been serving as associate vice president and dean of Undergraduate Studies since August 2003. He previously was a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology specializing in agricultural policy and resource economics, and land and water economics.

Nef holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Brigham Young University, and M.S. (Utah State) and Ph.D. (Iowa State) degrees in agricultural economics.

He is the author of papers on agricultural land use, water policy and energy rate selection in agriculture. He has taught courses in natural resource economics, agricultural trade, agriculture and food policy, agricultural research methods and agricultural finance.

He formerly had served as associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics, and is a member of the Fresno County Agricultural Land Conservation Committee.