Dr. Hess was the Chair of the UC Davis Nutrition Department from 2007 to 2009. He also serverd as Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from 1975 to 1989. In 1989 he was appointed by the President to be the Assistant Secretary of Science and Education in the USDA. He also had two presidential appointments to the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation. Upon his return to campus in 1991, he served as the Director of International Programs and has served as a special assistant to the Provost and Chancellor.