Administrative Structure Forms Strong Foundation for COAS Future
April 01, 2014
Pictured from Left to Right:
Front Row- Dr. Mickey Latour, Dean; Ms. Karen Midden, Associate Dean; Dr. Karen Jones, PSAS Chair
Back Row- Dr. Jim Zaczek, FOR Chair; Dr. William Banz, ASFN Chair; Dr. Ira Altman, ABE Chair
At the recent annual All Ag Banquet, guests had the chance to meet a group of people who will be leading the college during the coming years. It may not seem like much, but for faculty and staff that are represented by these individuals, the new permanent leadership provides a great deal of stability and support moving into the future. It has been many years since all six positions have been filled by permanent appointments, but now, the stakeholders of the college can have a tangible sense of who will be choosing the direction of the institution in the coming years. Each individual brings their own set of skills and abilities to the table, and with these combined strengths, the future of the college looks bright.
Meet the team:
Dr. Mickey Latour, Dean – PhD from Mississippi State University in Animal Physiology
Joining the college in the summer of 2012 from Purdue University, Dr. Latour has spent a great deal of time working on a variety of university and college initiatives. Among his responsibilities assisting in the process of various appointments throughout the college, he has worked diligently with college stakeholders to establish a new opportunity for students called Ideas to Investigation (i2i). This initiative allows for students to partner with a faculty member and industry representatives to plan and execute a research project using hands-on investigation of a problem and real world experience to help solve complex and challenging issues facing the agricultural industry.0
Ms. Karen Midden, Associate Dean – MS from Southern Illinois University in Plant and Soil Science; MS from University of Georgia in Landscape Architecture
Formerly a professor/landscape architect in the Department of Plant Soil and Agricultural Systems, Karen Midden was appointed to Associate Dean in the fall of 2013. Her recent activities include extensive work with the “Green Roof”, “Green Wall”, rain gardens, and college courtyard landscaping. She is also working on the development of an online program in Urban Ecological Landscapes.
Dr. Ira Altman, Agribusiness Economics (ABE) Department Chair – PhD from the University of Missouri in Agricultural Economics
Formerly an associate professor in the Department of Agribusiness Economics, Dr. Altman was appointed as Chair of the department in the fall of 2013. Dr. Altman, a native of Saskatchewan, Canada, specializes in organizational economics and rural development. He has recently been researching the economics of developing bioenergy markets and their financial feasibility.
Dr. William Banz, Animal Science Food and Nutrition (ASFN) Department Chair – PhD from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Formerly a professor in the Department of Animal Science Food and Nutrition, Dr. Banz was appointed as Chair of the department in the spring of 2013. As a specialist in Nutrition Physiology, his recent endeavors have included demonstrating anti-diabetic effects of numerous plant extracts and synthetic compounds.
Dr. Jim Zaczek, Forestry (FOR) Department Chair – PhD from Pennsylvania State University in Forest Resources
Dr. Zaczek has been a part of the Forestry Department since 1997, where he currently serves as professor and chair of the department. Widely known throughout the country, Dr. Zaczek serves on many boards and committees, including his position as Chair of the North Central Region, National Association of University Forest Resource Programs. His research interests lie within tree and forest biology, ecology, and restoration.
Dr. Karen Jones, Plant Soil and Agricultural Systems (PSAS) Department Chair – PhD from Texas A&M University
Formerly a professor in the Department of Animal Science Food and Nutrition, Dr. Jones served as Interim Chair for the Department of Plant Soil and Agricultural Systems for approximately one year before being appointed as Chair of the department in the fall of 2013. She is highly active in student leadership groups, and enjoys spending time serving as a mentor for various research projects. She also recently led a student study trip to Puerto Rico to learn about the island’s agricultural history.