Mississippi State University has named John Blanton Jr., a researcher with 20 years of experience in animal and food science, head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science. He worked as a research programs manager at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Okla., since 2008. He gained faculty and administrative experience at Texas Tech University and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, along with industry experience from KVS Service in Georgetown, Del., and Intervet Inc., now Schering-Plough, in Millsboro, Del.
Blanton earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New Mexico State University in animal science and population genetics, respectively. He earned a doctoral degree in muscle biology from Purdue University.
Blanton will assume his duties Dec. 1, replacing Mark Crenshaw, who served as interim department head since 2011.
In separate items, four Mississippi State administrators and faculty members are among 46 named recently as 2012-13 Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program fellows. They include: Mitchell E. Berman, head of the university’s psychology department; Devon Brenner, head of the curriculum, instruction, and special education department; Allison Pearson, Giles Distinguished Professor of Management in the management and information systems department; and, John M. Usher, head of the industrial and systems engineering department.
Berman is a Kent State University doctoral graduate. His research interests include aggressive and self-injurious human behavior, anger and aggressive behavior treatment and the effects of alcohol on cognition and behavior.
Brenner is a Michigan State University doctoral graduate. Her research has involved literacy curriculum and teaching at the elementary and middle school levels, as well as teacher education and professional development in literacy.
Pearson, an Auburn University doctoral graduate, uses her background in organizational behavior to research team dynamics and individual differences in business organizations.
Usher, a Louisiana State University doctoral graduate, has focused his efforts on the design and analysis of production systems, as well as the application of artificial intelligence in manufacturing and systems simulation, modeling and analysis.
Also, Jennifer Easley is the new director of sponsored programs administration at Mississippi State. A Mississippi State alumna, Easley has been serving on campus as business operations director for the High Performance Computing Collaboratory. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in professional accountancy.
Easley succeeds Richard Swann, who has accepted a position with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.