Arthur Appel, professor of entomology, was named interim dean for the College of Agriculture and director for Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station on Monday, July 6, according to Provost Timothy Boosinger.
Appel succeeded Paul Patterson, who served as acting dean and director for several weeks. Patterson said he has been the associate dean for six years.
The previous dean, William Batchelor, resigned in May, and according to Patterson, Boosinger appointed him to acting dean Monday, May 27.
Patterson said Batchelor’s resignation was sudden and Batchelor stated he stepped down for personal and family reasons.
Batchelor declined to comment on his reasons behind resigning.
He also said he returned to the faculty Friday, May 22, for a teaching and research position.
The university began a process to search for an interim dean after Batchelor’s resignation.
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Patterson served as the acting dean and director while the open search for the interim dean took place.
He also said Appel served as the interim associate dean for research before interim dean, so it gave the college continuity.
Appel said he submitted his résumé to a committee along with a letter and went through an interview process before being selected as the interim dean.
He said it takes at least six months and sometimes longer to hire a permanent position.
“For faculty positions and for administrative, high-profile administrative positions you want to get the biggest pool of people,” Appel said. “You want to hire the best people in the country.”
According to Appel, the university has policies and rules regarding interim positions and he said he will not be considered for the permanent position.
“In our system people generally in interim positions are serving the university, serving their colleagues and are not eligible,” Appel said.
However, Appel said an interim employee could serve, resign and then re-apply.
“My goals are to keep the progress that we’ve had in the last several years going, and that’s hiring new faculty, encouraging our faculty and staff and students ... and to fine tune some of the processes we have,” Appel said. “It’s very difficult to coordinate everything and try to make it as efficient as possible.”
John Beasley, professor and head of department of crop, soil and environmental sciences, said Appel’s 30-year employment with the university gives him the knowledge and experience to lead the college.
Beasley said he expected the interim period to last one year at minimum.
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