Animal Science seeks new leader

Erin Beck

With former Animal Science Department Head Clint Rusk off to Oklahoma State University, the animal science department is now on the hunt for someone to fill the role.

Donald Marshall is currently filling the position as interim head while also keeping up with his duties as associate dean and director of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Academic Programs.

According to Marshall, Rusk acted as the Animal Science Department Head for three years after arriving from Purdue University.

The role of Animal Science Department Head entails overseeing livestock units, supervising faculty research projects, assigning instructors to classes and coordinating department activities.

While Marshall is juggling two positions, he works primarily to assist the faculty, students and staff in the animal science department. With registration around the corner, he’s making sure relevant classes are being provided for students and that the advising process is flowing smoothly.

According to Barry Dunn, dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, the department is in the middle of interviewing candidates for the position. Dunn is in charge of appointing a search committee, which engineers the advertising for the position and screens the applications that are received. The committee then invites prospective candidates to campus for a series of interviews.

The search committee consists of three faculty members, an industry person from out of state, one graduate student, a career service person and another department head from within the university. David Zeman, department head of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, is chair of the search committee.

While not on board the search committee, Daniel Scholl, associate dean and director of the Ag Experiment Stations, interviews candidates for the position.

“It’s important that that person selected as a department head be a candidate who can work well with the leadership team and the faculty, a candidate who will help realize and help bring to pass the vision of the department,” Scholl said.

Dunn is also looking for certain qualities in a potential department head.

“One thing would be strong evidence of leadership,” Dunn said. “Experience in administration would be valued, and then kind of a top pedigree as a teacher or scientist or extension person — someone who really excelled in their field in the land grant mission.”

The results from the first set of candidates will tell how soon the animal science department will get its position filled.

“We’ll get recommendations and feedback from faculty and the search committee and leadership team here in the college,” Dunn said. “I’ll make a final decision.”

The goal is to have someone fill the role as soon as possible — hopefully by the start of the next semester. Marshall said that it depends on when the selected candidate for the position is able to start. Marshall foresees the position to be filled by the summer of 2013 at the latest.

“We want somebody that will be a strong leader for the department … someone who will be able to establish good relationships with the industry,” Marshall said. “Someone who will do a good job of representing the department in various settings, not only on campus but off campus as well.”