Deacue Fields Named Next Dean of U of A's Bumpers College

Deacue Fields III, newly appointed dean of Bumpers College
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Deacue Fields III, newly appointed dean of Bumpers College

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Deacue Fields III has been named the new dean of the University of Arkansas’ Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, pending approval by the UA System Board of Trustees. He is expected to begin his appointment in mid-May.

Fields is currently professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn University. He has held this position since August 2013. Before that, he was associate professor and coordinator of the Alabama Farm Analysis Program with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn for almost two years.

“Following an extensive search and interview process, we are excited to welcome Dr. Deacue Fields to the University of Arkansas and Bumpers College,” said Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “His vision for the college’s role in recruiting and educating students in agricultural, food and life sciences from across Arkansas, and for the partnerships that Bumpers College can play in facilitating the success of Arkansas’ agricultural industry really stood out. The university community is looking forward to working with him as he leads Bumpers College.

“I also want to thank Lona Robertson for her outstanding leadership, dedication and hard work as interim dean over the past 17 months,” Coleman added. “She led the Dean’s Office and 11 academic areas, and her efforts during this transitional period are evident. I especially appreciate her work managing the college’s budget, leading the college in collaborations across campus, and her engagement with students, potential students, faculty, alumni and donors.”

The dean of Bumpers College also works closely with the UA System Division of Agriculture.

“We are eager to have Dr. Deacue Fields join us as dean of Bumpers College and as associate vice president for the Division of Agriculture,” said Mark Cochran, who as vice president-agriculture heads the Division of Agriculture. “His energy, vision and depth of preparation made Dr. Fields very impressive during the search process, and those of us involved in the search process received many positive comments from alumni, agricultural leadership and other stakeholders. We look forward to seeing his leadership at work with the teaching programs of the college as well as his efforts to recruit more Arkansans to become the next generation of scientists, managers and specialists in careers in the critical areas of agriculture, food and life sciences.

“We also wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Lona Robertson for her service as interim dean,” Cochran added. “Her steadfastness during a transition helped keep the college moving forward.”

As dean, Fields will manage the budget, operations, personnel and academic programs of the college. He will promote collaboration and good relationships between the college and the Division of Agriculture, including working with the division to ensure strong academic programs, increases in research funding and impact, and effective partnerships with Arkansas’ agricultural, food and life sciences stakeholders.

He will also develop and implement a strategic plan for Bumpers College consistent with the U of A’s eight guiding priorities and strategic plan; work with the campus to recruit more students from all parts of Arkansas; and meet goals set for the college in the Campaign Arkansas fundraising efforts, in collaboration with the Division of Agriculture.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity, and want to thank Provost Coleman, Dr. Cochran with the Division of Agriculture, and Dean Waller and everyone on the search committee for having confidence in me to lead Bumpers College,” said Fields. “I’ve been preparing for a leadership position like this my whole career, and I’m excited to work with our award winning faculty and staff. Bumpers College has an exceptional foundation and I am anxious to continue building on that foundation through an inclusive shared vision. I’m also excited to meet and work with our students and assist them with cultivating their passion in Bumpers College. I’m looking forward to developing relationships with our alumni, state agencies, industry stakeholders and other supporters.”   

In his position as department chair at Auburn, Fields completed a comprehensive academic program review, facilitated a 31.5 percent increase in departmental extramural funding, secured the department’s first equipment grant, developed a departmental strategic plan, facilitated a process to revise and adopt departmental bylaws and supervised an undergraduate enrollment increase of 59 percent.

 

He also developed and managed budgets, oversaw departmental facilities, established relationships with various stakeholder groups, pursued development opportunities, conducted a comprehensive undergraduate teaching retreat, re-established the Agribusiness Club, developed a strategic hiring plan for faculty, secured an equipment grant and served on 12 College of Agriculture search committees.  

Fields is on the Council on Food Agricultural and Resource Economics board of directors, is president elect of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association, served on the AU presidential search committee in 2016 and was selected as an external reviewer for an academic review of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky.

“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Arkansas and we, as a land-grant institution, have a duty to support the state and those in agricultural careers, and we will do that,” said Fields. “We are the state’s flagship university and we want to attract students from every corner of the state and expose them to all Bumpers College has to offer. We have opportunities for students who want successful careers in agriculture and life sciences, and we’re going to support and encourage them as they graduate and become professionals in their field in Arkansas, across the country or around the world.”

He joined the faculty at Auburn as assistant professor and extension economist in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor in 2007. He has also worked as assistant professor and director of small farm outreach at Florida A&M University, and as a graduate research fellow in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at Louisiana State University.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1993, his master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1995 and his doctorate from LSU in 2002, all in agricultural economics.

“I want to thank Matt Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, for leading the search committee, and everyone who served on the committee for their excellent work and their commitment to finding the best possible person to lead Bumpers College,” said Provost Coleman.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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