William Batchelor, head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Mississippi State University, has been named dean of Auburn University’s College of Agriculture. He succeeds Dr. Richard Guthrie, who is retiring as dean after more than 25 years.Batchelor also will assume the directorship of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. He will begin his appointment on July 15.”The role and practice of agriculture is much different today than just a few years ago, and it continues to rapidly evolve,” Auburn President Jay Gogue said. “Dr. Batchelor is a highly accomplished researcher and administrator whose leadership will ensure that Auburn stays ahead of those changes and strengthens our service to the state.””Auburn has an outstanding reputation for teaching, research and outreach in agriculture,” Batchelor said, “and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station is nationally recognized for its valuable service to Alabama, the nation and the world. I look forward to working with the faculty and staff as we build upon the history of accomplishments and continue to seek ways to serve the people of Alabama. Dawn and I are looking forward to joining the Auburn family and being part of the university’s success in the future.”At Mississippi State, Batchelor is director of the Sustainable Energy Research Center, an entity he played a lead role in establishing in 2005 with $26 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants he was instrumental in securing.The center conducts research on sources of renewable fuels (including bio-crude, bio-oil and syngas) that don’t compete with existing global food supply crops, such as corn and soybeans.Batchelor also is director of the Energy Institute at Mississippi State, which has about 200 researchers in several centers and departments.In 2009, he was named a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for his contributions to information and electrical technologies and biological engineering. He also serves as president of the Institute of Biological Engineers.”Dr. Batchelor’s outstanding academic and administrative records will provide the College of Agriculture and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station with a nationally and internationally recognized scholar and leader,” Auburn Provost Mary Ellen Mazey said. “We are pleased to welcome him to Auburn.”As dean of the College of Agriculture he will report to Mazey, while, as director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, he will report to Gogue.Batchelor earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering at the University of Georgia in 1986 and 1987, respectively, and his doctorate in agricultural engineering at the University of Florida in 1993. He worked at Iowa State University from 1994 until 2005, advancing to the rank of professor. He joined the Mississippi State faculty in 2005.From 2005 to 2007, he served also as a Distinguished International Professor for the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany.
AUBURN NAMES NEW COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE DEAN