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 next year, according to a press release from the UA.
Fields is professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology since 2013 at Auburn University in Alabama. Before that, he was associate professor and coordinator of the Alabama Farm Analysis Program with Auburn’s agriculture department and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, according to the UA.
“Following an extensive search and interview process, we are excited to welcome Dr. Deacue Fields to the University of Arkansas and Bumpers College,” Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said in the press release. “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.”
As dean, Fields will manage the budget, operations, personnel and academic programs of the college, in addition to developing a strategic plan for the college, recruiting more students, meeting fundraising goals and working closely with the UA System Division of Agriculture, according to the UA.
“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,” Mark Cochran, division head, said in the release. “His energy, vision and depth of preparation made Dr. Fields very impressive during the search process, and those of us on the search committee 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.
In his position as department chair at Auburn, Fields facilitated a 31.5% increase in departmental extramural funding, secured the department’s first equipment grant, developed a departmental strategic plan and supervised an undergraduate enrollment increase of 59%, according to the UA.
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,” Fields said in the release. “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, according to the UA.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1993, his master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1995 and his doctorate from LSU in 2002, all in agricultural economics.