AUBURN – Jim Shepard, professor and associate director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center at Mississippi State University, has been named dean of Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, effective Jan. 3.
“Dr. Shepard has an outstanding record of accomplishments in forest sustainability, environmental management and academia,” Auburn Provost Mary Ellen Mazey said. “The faculty, staff, students and administration look forward to working with him as we continue to build the academic, research and outreach programs of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.”
Shepard succeeds Dean Dick Brinker, who is retiring after 12 years as dean and 22 years overall at Auburn.
Shepard’s roles at Mississippi State include working as the associate director of the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute and being responsible for supporting research within the College of Forest Resources, in essence serving as an associate dean for research. Prior to being named to his current positions in 2009, he was head of Mississippi State’s Department of Forestry from 2005 to 2008.
“I am impressed with the state of Alabama’s huge diversity of forest ecosystems, from the mountains of the north to the coastal wetlands,” Shepard said. “I am looking forward to leading a school whose faculty, staff and students are ensuring a bright future for the forest and wildlife resources of Alabama and beyond.”
Shepard also served 18 years with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement in Gainesville, Fla., in positions such as sustainable forestry program manager and forest wetlands program manager. During this time, he worked for seven years as an associate professor in the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation. He helped initiate Florida’s study abroad program with the Czech University of Agriculture’s forestry school.”
He earned his doctoral degree from Mississippi State in 1985 in forest resources with a focus on forest soils. He then served as a research scientist for five years at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where his work focused on the biogeochemical effects of atmospheric deposition.
He is the 2010 first vice president of the Mississippi Forestry Association and has been on its board of directors since 2005. He is a charter member of the Southern Forest Research Partnership and is on its executive committee.