Dean Search

The University of Arkansas and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences have begun the final processes for selecting a new Dean of the Bumpers College. Four finalists have been selected (from left): Deacue Fields III, Mickey Latour, Lona Robertson and Michael Woods.

Dean Finalists

Candidate Presentation Schedules and Biographies

The four will individually visit the campus over the next three weeks and each will participate in public forums in the Agnes Blew Auditorium (Room 102) of the Human Environmental Sciences Building (HOEC).

Lona Robertson, interim dean, Bumpers College

Watch Lona Robertson's Presentation

Lona Robertson has been professor and interim dean of Bumpers College since June 2016. Before that, she was professor and associate dean from 2011-16, and associate professor and area coordinator for apparel studies from 2006-11. Robertson also served as entomology interim department head from 2014-16.

As interim dean, Robertson has managed and overseen the college’s academic budget; worked with other deans to engage college faculty across campus in areas of sustainability, data analytics, health and food; worked with Development and External Relations to participate in Campaign Arkansas, meet with current and prospective donors, and represent the college at development and alumni events; and led the Dean’s Office staff, and 11 academic areas and associated programming. Robertson has hired five new faculty members and promoted 10 others, worked with the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board to redefine its mission and goals, and, since joining the Dean’s Office in 2011, has seen enrollment grow 21.2 percent, enrollment in the honors program increase 25 percent and participation in study abroad more than double.

As associate dean, Robertson oversaw academic affairs, as well as staff involved in recruiting, student retention and curriculum, advising and student records, scholarships and employer relations.

Deacue Fields III, chair, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Auburn University

Watch Deacue Fields' III Presentation

Deacue Fields III has been professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn University 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.

As department chair, Fields has 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.

Fields is on the Council on Food Agricultural and Resource Economics board of directors, and is president elect of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

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 Louisiana State University in 2002, all in agricultural economics.

Michael Woods, department head, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University

Watch Michael Woods' Presentation

Michael Woods has been professor and department head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University since January 2007. He also served as interim vice president, dean and director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources from 2012-14. From 1991-2006, Woods was professor and extension economist with OSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

As department head, Woods provides leadership for teaching, research and extension. The department includes approximately 30 tenure-track faculty, 25 full-time staff, 500 undergraduates and 65 graduate students. As interim vice president and dean for the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, he led nine academic departments, multiple interdisciplinary centers and institutes, and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.

Woods has been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association in 2015 and the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Rural Development Center in 2012.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Arkansas Tech University in 1975, his master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas in 1978 and his doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University in 1981.

Mickey Latour, dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Watch Mickey Latour's Presentation

Mickey Latour has been dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale since 2012. Southern Illinios is classified as an “R2: Research University” and an “R2: Doctoral University” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The College of Agricultural Sciences has posted a four-year graduation rate 98 percent higher than the campus average and a first-year retention rate 89 percent higher.

Recent initiatives include the Ideas to Investigation program where students participate in a hands-on investigation of a research problem identified by an industry partner and faculty adviser; elevating research through collaboration with the colleges of science and engineering to seek grant opportunities; a Fall Festival event to bring FFA students and teachers to campus for learning activities and student recruiting; the development of a new summer school model and winter course options across the Southern Illinois campus; and foundation and engagement resulting in a campus green fund initiative, and new classroom and training.

Latour, who was associate dean at Purdue University from 2010-12, earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1990. He earned his master’s (1992) and doctoral (1995) degrees in animal physiology, both from Mississippi State University.

About the College

Bumpers College prepares students for careers in areas of food, family, the environment, agriculture, business, science and more through 13 majors and 22 minors in nine departments plus the School of Human Environmental Sciences. The college has a record enrollment of 2,200 for Fall 2017 and has experienced growth 16 consecutive years. Faculty and scientists are dedicated to serving the state by producing leaders through education, research and outreach. They improve the life of Arkansans and others by preparing students for successful careers, conducting impactful research and sharing knowledge promoting viable food and agricultural systems, sustainable environments, healthy families and vibrant communities. 

Search Committee

Terry Bumgardner, director of development and external relations, Bumpers College

John Clark, distinguished professor, horticulture

Tonya Foster, administrative manager, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Scott Gustin, DVM, director of veterinary services, Tyson Foods Inc.

Marvin Hare, rice, corn and soybean farmer in Jackson County since 1966; Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board member since 1995

Mike Looper, department head, animal science

Jean-Francois Meullenet, department head, food science

Jennie Popp, associate dean, Honors College; professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness

Trenton Roberts, research assistant professor, crop, soil, and environmental sciences

Sabrina Trudo, associate professor, 21st Century Endowed Chair in Human Environmental Sciences, human nutrition

Matt Waller, chair, Dean of the U of A Walton College of Business


Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

About the University

Founded in 1871 as a land grant institution, the University of Arkansas is classified by the Carnegie Foundation among the top two percent of universities in the nation with the highest level of research activity. Ten colleges and schools serve more than 27,100 students with more than 200 academic programs. University of Arkansas students earn nationally competitive awards at an impressive rate and represent 50 states and more than 120 countries.
Located in the stunning Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas campus, known for its spectacular views and ample green spaces. Fayetteville is considered one of the country’s finest college towns, and the surrounding northwest Arkansas region is regularly ranked one of the best places to live in the U.S. Some of the nation’s best outdoor amenities and most spectacular hiking trails are within a short drive of campus.
As an employer, the University of Arkansas offers a vibrant work environment and a workplace culture that promotes a healthy work-life balance. The benefits package includes university contributions to health, dental, life and disability insurance, tuition waivers for employees and their families, 12 official holidays, immediate leave accrual, and a choice of retirement programs with university contributions ranging from 5 to 10% of employee salary.

About the College/Department

The Bumpers College offers 14 majors and 21 minors for students interested in plants, animals, agri-business, food, the natural environment and includes the School of Human Environmental Sciences. Each major provides a close-knit, family like, student-centered atmosphere. Together with personal attention from faculty, use of hands-on experiential learning methods and an active and growing undergraduate research program, the College provides opportunity for intellectual enrichment beyond the traditional undergraduate experience. The Bumpers College has been the fastest growing college on campus in recent years with an enrollment of 2087 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The Bumpers College has a total of 215 faculty members, and in that total, there are 103 faculty members with active mentor standing in the Honors College and 10 Endowed Chair positions.

Department Home Page

Job Type


Summary of Job Duties

The Dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of the college. As Dean, the position reports directly to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The Dean provides academic, intellectual and administrative leadership to the College. As Associate Vice President for Academic Programs, the position reports directly to the Vice President for Agriculture and works with the Associate Vice Presidents for Research and for Extension.

Key areas of focus include student recruitment, leadership for innovative and relevant learning platforms, and the role that Bumpers College can play in preparing students for careers in food, family and environment. The position is the major administrative link between academic activities at the Fayetteville campus and the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A doctoral degree from an accredited institution
  • Qualified for appointment as a tenured professor in the Bumpers College
  • Evidence of effective, creative leadership and possess excellent communication skills necessary to be a strong advocate for the College and faculty within the College at the campus, state and national levels
  • A broad knowledge and appreciation of both Agricultural Sciences and Human Sciences
  • Familiarity with the issues and concerns of a major teaching and research university
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity
  • A distinguished record of scholarship and accomplishment in higher education
  • Demonstrated significant and progressive leadership and administrative experience in managing a sizable unit at an institution of higher learning

Experience with direct faculty management, such as evaluations and promotion and tenure

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in and a strong vision for the Land Grant system and demonstrated success in academics
  • Familiarity with the issues and concerns of a major teaching and research university
  • Visionary leadership to move the college to national prominence
  • Significant experience in strategic planning and deployment of development and advancement initiatives
  • National and international reputation and strong connection to national organizations and associations
  • Demonstrated leadership in managing complex and interdisciplinary programs and units
  • Receptive to new and innovative programs and initiatives that will bring recognition to the college
  • Experience with national accreditation agencies/bodies
  • Evidence of creative accomplishments

Experience with developing, coordinating and delivering distance education degree programs

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs)

  • Strong administrative and management skills