Auburn names new College of Agriculture dean

AUBURN – 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 also will assume the directorship of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, pending approval by the Auburn University Board of Trustees at its June 18 meeting.

“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.”

Batchelor led the development of the Sustainable Energy Research Center at Mississippi State University in 2005 and currently is its director, and he led faculty in creating a proposal that was awarded $26 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for operational costs. The center conducts research on sources of renewable fuels, including bio-crude, bio-oil and syngas, that do not compete with existing crops, such as corn and soybeans, needed for the global food supply. Batchelor also is director of the Energy Institute at Mississippi State, which has approximately 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.”

Batchelor will begin his appointment on July 15. As dean of the College of Agriculture he will report to Provost Mazey, while, as director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, he would report to President Gogue. Batchelor succeeds Richard Guthrie, who is retiring after more than 25 years of service to Auburn.

“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.”

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.

Contact: Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu), or
Katie Jackson (334) 844-5887 (smithcl@auburn.edu)