LITTLE ROCK (Monday, March 7, 2022) — A search committee to find the next vice president for agriculture for the University of Arkansas System named two internal candidates as finalists who will participate in formal interviews and public presentations during the next month.
The finalists are Deacue Fields, Ph.D., dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and Jean-François Meullenet, Ph.D., head of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UADA). A search committee comprised of faculty, staff and stakeholders has assisted UA System President Donald R. Bobbitt, Ph.D., in identifying candidates for the position and selecting the finalists. The vice president position serves as the head of UADA, also home to the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.
Meullenet will interview, visit and present March 28-29, and Fields will follow April 5-6.
The interview process will take place in Fayetteville and Little Rock and include a public presentation on a topic to be selected by the committee.
“The Vice President of Agriculture is a key contributor to the UA System’s ability to meet the needs of the agribusiness sector in Arkansas, which annually contributes more than $20 billion to the State’s economy,” Bobbitt said. “These two finalists, identified through a national search, each intimately understand the many challenges facing the farming community in Arkansas and have demonstrated the ability to innovatively develop solutions to seemingly intractable problems. I want to thank the members of the search committee for their hard work in identifying these two exceptional candidates. I look forward to their interviews and am excited to learn more about their vision for the future of the Division and how it can help ensure a bright future for Arkansas agriculture.”
Bobbitt is leading the national search for the successor to Dr. Mark J. Cochran, who retired in September 2021. Chuck Culver, the division’s assistant vice president and director external relations, has been serving as interim vice president.
Once the interviews are complete, the committee will make a recommendation to Bobbitt before he takes his pick to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas for final approval.
DEACUE FIELDS, Ph.D. — Fields was appointed Bumpers College dean in 2017. He came to Arkansas after serving as
professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn University since August 2013.
He joined the faculty at Auburn in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor in 2007, in an appointment that also included extension duties. 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.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1993, his master’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1995 and his doctorate from LSU in 2002, all in agricultural economics.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS MEULLENET, Ph.D. — Meullenet has served as director of the Agricultural Experiment Station since 2018, after being named interim director in 2017. Prior to that, he was head of the Food Science Department and director of the Institute of Food Science and Engineering, posts he’s held since 2010.
Meullenet held the Tyson Foods Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Sensory Science from 2006-2017 and is a 2013 graduate of LEAD21, a national leadership program. He has also served as chair of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors from 2020-2021.
A native of France, Meullenet earned a master of science in Food Engineering from the National Superior School of Agronomy and Food Science in Nancy, and a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from the University of Georgia. He joined the Division of Agriculture as an assistant professor of Food Science in 1996.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices.
Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.