Veteran agriculture researcher Dr. Mickey Latour will become dean of the College of Agriculture at Arkansas State University, Provost Alan Utter said.
A full professor at both Purdue University and Southern Illinois University during his career, Latour served as the dean of the college of agricultural sciences at SIU in Carbondale for five years.
“Dr. Latour brings a strong commitment to research, considerable administrative experience, and a keen understanding of the challenges facing an agriculture college at a Research 2 university of our size,” Utter said. “I’m pleased that he has accepted our offer to come to Jonesboro and lead our academic community in the College of Agriculture.”
Latour expressed both optimism and enthusiasm for the opportunity at ASU.
“I look forward to working with the faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends of the college and folks across the Delta region to move the college towards distinction. I am confident the talent, desire and drive are there to advance academics, research and service across the College of Agriculture. I recognize that agriculture is the number one industry in Arkansas, and the Delta region is a significant contributor to the overall portfolio. In cooperation with Delta region partners, I’m confident the combined efforts of all who touch the college will be part of the agriculture solutions going forward.”
Earning his master’s and Ph.D. in animal science at Mississippi State, Latour rose through the professorial ranks at Purdue from 1997 to 2010, earning full professor and serving as an associate dean of the extended campus, and director of distance learning in his final two years in West Lafayette, Ind. He joined SIU in 2012 as the dean until 2017 when he returned to the classroom as professor of animal science.
Among his major initiatives at SIU was the development of “Ideas to Investigation (i2i)” that created pathways for undergraduate students to access funding for research projects, creation of a Fall Festival to showcase the agri college to the regional Carbondale community, and collaborating with two other colleges at SIU on the “Elevating Research” program to find interdisciplinary partners among faculty members toward grand submissions.
“When you look at where Dr. Latour has made particular impact at Southern Illinois, there is great alignment with Arkansas State’s emphasis of creating research opportunities for undergraduate students,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “Outreach to our community and increasing research opportunities are two major areas of emphasis in our new strategic plan process, and I’m looking forward to his leadership for our College of Agriculture.”
Latour also guided SIU’s efforts to create a new summer school model to assist students in the completion of their undergraduate degrees and online course offerings. This was a continuation of his work previously as the associate dean of the extended campus at Purdue.
As a faculty member at Purdue, Latour was a panel member for USDA Grant Reviews in 2006 and 2007, as well as the director of the Purdue University Meats Products Laboratory from 2008 to 2012. He has served as the co-primary investigator on four federal grants totaling almost $700,000, and several state, other government agency, or private sector-supported research grants.
During his post-doctoral research, Latour was a fellow with the National Institutes of Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. His research area is lipid metabolism, especially as to how this relates to final food products. A national and international expert in this area, Latour has a lengthy list of publications and co-publications in the field. Before earning his graduate degrees at Mississippi State, Latour completed his undergraduate work at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
Latour will begin his duties as the permanent dean at A-State with the new fiscal year on July 1, 2020.