New ag dean ‘thrilled’ to come back

Ellen Nelson

Ellen Nelson

Jackrabbit alumnus Barry Dunn has been recruited back home from Texas A&M University-Kingsville to become the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at SDSU.

Dunn was the selected candidate for the position through an extensive process. Dunn’s responsibilities as dean will begin starting in May.

“I am thrilled to be coming back,” said Dunn.

A search committee was formed to aid the recruitment process for the right candidate. Committee members included faculty and students, along with two other individuals who had ties to the agriculture field but not to SDSU.

Committee members agreed on specific qualities in the pool of candidates – such as strong leadership skills – throughout the search. The search was nearly a yearlong process.

A pool of 30 possible recruits was selected from across the nation, said Nichols. Recently hired this summer herself, she said the search for the right candidate was extended in July. This extension was approved and advertisement for the position was increased in order to obtain a stronger pool of candidates, which ensured that the right candidate would be chosen, said Nichols.

Dunn was not looking for another job when contacted and had no plans on leaving Texas when the job offer came to his attention last summer through former colleagues and friends from SDSU.

“It took some convincing for me to apply, and (I) am very flattered and honored to (have been) selected,” said Dunn.

Committee member Lewis Brown, dean of the College of Engineering, described Dunn as, “an exciting person with great people skills.”

Since the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences has numerous people involved with it, Brown said he thinks Dunn will spend much time getting acquainted and making connections with other leading agricultural figures in South Dakota.

Though he is still finishing up obligations to graduate students and faculty in Texas, Dunn already has goals set for his new post at SDSU. Knowing firsthand the rivalry between other well-known universities, Dunn’s goal for State is to become the program of choice for prospective students seeking a degree in an agricultural field.

Dunn said SDSU’s location has a geographical advantage over other agriculture schools, which he says will help him achieve his ambitions for the college.

Sophomore John Goossens, a transfer student from the University of North Dakota, agrees with Dunn’s vision of SDSU as the college of choice for agriculture-related degrees. He is satisfied with the fact that the college’s new dean is a former Jackrabbit.

“Having graduated from here, he has an automatic incentive to do a good job,” Goossens said.

Dunn described the College of Agriculture as a three-legged stool supporting itself through teaching, research and extensions. As dean, Dunn plans on addressing all three of these areas and improving them accordingly.

When Dunn takes his position at SDSU, he will be closer to friends, as well as family on his wife’s side who live near Sioux Falls, his son – a senior at SDSU – and a brother who lives in Valentine, S.D.