College of Sciences and Mathematics professor named Auburn Presidential Administrative Fellow

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Michael Wooten, a professor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics Department of Biological Sciences, has been named Auburn University’s Presidential Administrative Fellow for 2014.

The fellowship program is designed to help individual faculty members gain senior administrative experience while applying their academic expertise to issues and programs that impact a broad segment of the university community.

“Dr. Wooten has demonstrated excellent leadership skills through many administrative and service activities,” President Jay Gogue said. “As a faculty fellow, he will provide valuable insight as we continue to optimize Auburn’s strategic priorities.”

As the Presidential Administrative Fellow, Wooten plans to develop an online information exchange focused on international activities. The website would be accessible through links under the Office of International Programs and would serve as a collection point and repository for international knowledge held by the Auburn University community.

“The overall concept for the website would be a self-reporting interface,” Wooten said. “Faculty seeking expertise would be able to post information about the course or research they are planning and ask for assistance.”

As part of the repository concept, a multimedia area will be available on the website in which participants can submit photographs and audio and video files relating to their area of expertise.

The website also would be open for study abroad courses to document their locations, including an easily accessible map-based presentation system.

Wooten said he hopes to make significant progress on the international expertise repository and to increase his own knowledge regarding how a major university operates.

“I intend to use this exceptional opportunity to meet with as many people as possible, at all administrative levels, to learn as much as I can about what it takes to make the system function,” Wooten said. “Ultimately I hope to bring new insight back to my current departmental position to help both me and my colleagues operate within the system more effectively.”

A faculty member at Auburn since 1986, Wooten holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Georgia and Stony Brook University.

He serves as vice chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and was the department chair of the former Department of Zoology and Wildlife Science in COSAM. He also serves on the University Promotion and Tenure Committee.

Wooten has taught general genetics for 29 years and has served on numerous department, college and university committees including the University Senate and as a one-time faculty advisor to the Auburn University Sailing Club.

Wooten co-directed a summer 2013 Study Abroad course in Swaziland with Troy Best and Christine Sundermann, which included a three-week biology field trip studying mammals and collecting data for the Mbuluzi Nature Preserve.

He first participated in a Study Abroad course as an undergraduate on a trip to Colima, Mexico, where he collected ecological data on small mammals. He has made two additional trips to Colima as a graduate student and then after coming to Auburn, made annual trips as a faculty member participant with students from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Memphis. On these trips, he collected ecological data from a series of diverse habitats starting at sea level on the Pacific Ocean and going to more than 10,000 feet on an active volcano.

He has directed research on the conservation of endangered species on the Gulf Coast for 20 years and is directing completion of a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to examine protein-level causes of neurological diseases.

(Written by Susie Bridges.)

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