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MSU combines administration of units, colleges

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University president Mark E. Keenum has announced plans to combine administrative functions of two research units and the colleges of Forest Resources and Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Consolidation of administrative units for two colleges will provide significant savings for the university while maintaining the separate identities of the colleges, he said.

“The university faces unprecedented budget reductions in the next two years as the state undergoes challenging economic times,” Keenum said.  “Combining administrative resources will reduce costs while ensuring the quality of the two programs remains intact.”

Last fall, the president developed a faculty-led Select Committee on Efficiencies and Innovations.

“The committee recommended merging the two colleges to save administrative costs,” Keenum said. “After visiting with friends and supporters of the two colleges, as well as faculty and staff, it was apparent the best way to accomplish the needed savings is to merge the administrative roles of each unit.”

The merger could save up to $1 million annually. The university must cut approximately $47 million over the next two years.

MSU alumnus George M. Hopper will remain dean of the College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. He also will assume duties as interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and interim director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, a position currently held by associate vice president Melissa Mixon.

A Vicksburg native, Hopper joined the forestry faculty in 2005 after serving 11 years as head of the department of forestry, wildlife and fisheries at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He is a Society of American Foresters Fellow and past-president of the National Association of University Forest Resources Program.

Hopper will serve as dean of the College of Forest Resources, director of the Forest and Wildlife Resource Center, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and interim director of the experiment station until a search can be completed, according to procedures defined by Mississippi State’s faculty governance policies.

The search will be accomplished during the upcoming academic year.

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