Garrison Moves From HESC Director to Full-Time Teaching and Research; Graham Interim Director

Betsy Garrison (left) is stepping down as director of Bumpers College's School of Human Environmental Sciences and will focus on teaching and research. Donna L. Graham, University Professor of agricultural education, is the interim director.
University Relations

Betsy Garrison (left) is stepping down as director of Bumpers College's School of Human Environmental Sciences and will focus on teaching and research. Donna L. Graham, University Professor of agricultural education, is the interim director.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following six years leading the School of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Betsy Garrison is stepping down as director and will focus on teaching and research responsibilities.

HESC is part of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and Dean Deacue Fields has appointed Donna L. Graham as interim director. Graham is a University Professor of agricultural education and graduate coordinator in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology, and former associate dean of Bumpers College.

"I want to thank Dr. Garrison for leading our School of Human Environmental Sciences for six years, which is a time period marked by growth and expansion," said Fields. "Serving as director while conducting research is very challenging, and she managed both aspects for several years. I also appreciate her support of me when I came on board as dean. She has been a key member of our faculty and will continue to serve in that role."

Garrison joined the college July 1, 2014, after serving in several positions at Louisiana State University. In her time leading HESC, the school's total enrollment grew from 811 in 2013 to 860 in fall 2019 with 16 new faculty and staff members hired. The school also created the birth through kindergarten program; the human nutrition and hospitality innovation program was split into three separate majors (human nutrition and dietetics; food, nutrition and health; and hospitality management); the apparel studies program became apparel merchandising and product development; and several minors were created, including online offerings. HESC also includes the human development and family sciences major, which is becoming the college's first undergraduate online degree offering this fall.

"I'm pleased Dr. Graham has agreed to take on the administrative responsibilities in serving as interim director," said Fields. "She served the college for 10 years as associate dean and will quickly transition into this role with faculty, staff and students. I'm confident we'll continue our recent successes and enhancements in HESC as we build programs that will attract and prepare students for a multitude of positions related to individuals, families, communities and human quality of life."

Graham has been a faculty member since 1985. In 2019, she was inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame and named the nation's Outstanding Agricultural Educator by the American Association for Agricultural Education.

She has earned the Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence as well as recognition as a Distinguished Alumna from the U of A Alumni Association. Graham also received the Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture professional society in 2016. Graham is a past president of AAAE and also a Senior Fellow.

Fields plans to launch a search for a permanent director in spring 2021.

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. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

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 2.7 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.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


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