Purdue University's College of Agriculture will take enough time to do the job right in its search for a new Dean of Agriculture. In the meantime, Jay Akridge, in the Ag Economics Department at Purdue, will act as interim dean.
The announcement follows the earlier resignation of Randy Woodson as Dean of Agriculture. Woodson accepted the invitation from Purdue's President Cordova to become Provost. While that puts someone with ag background in one of the top leadership and decision-making positions at the Indiana's Land Grant University, it leaves big shoes to fill in the Dean's office.
Woodson followed Vic Lechtenberg as Dean. Ironically, he's following Lechtenberg again, sort-of. Lechtenberg was serving as interim Provost until Woodson was named to fill the position. Both men were professors at Purdue before entering administration- Lechtenberg was a professor in the Agronomy Department and Woodson in the Horticulture Department.
Lechtenberg made it clear that the search for a permanent Dean to replace Woodson would be all-encompassing, conducted on a national level. The search committee for the position has yet to be named. Typically, search committees narrow the field to a few candidates, who then visit the campus for extensive interviews and presentations involving a variety of groups connected to Purdue.
Meanwhile, Akridge assumes duties of keeping the College of Agriculture running on an even keel. Both he and Woodson begin their new duties May 1. Besides being a professor in ag economics, Akridge has served as director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business.
Akridge's leadership and teaching skills are well documented. He received the highest teaching honor for the entire university in 1996, earning the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. Later he was named a University Faculty Scholar.
Like many former administrative leaders at Purdue, Akridge is 'home-grown,' at least in part. He completed his BS degree at Murray State University in Kentucky, but earned MS and PHD degrees from Purdue, finishing his doctorate in 1986.
Watch for more on the search and interview process for a permanent dean as details become available.