May 13, 2004

John S. Russin named associate dean

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- John S. Russin, chair of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems, has been named associate dean for research and personnel administration in the University's College of Agricultural Sciences. Pending approval by the SIU Board of Trustees, the appointment will be retroactive to Feb. 23. Russin succeeds Anthony W. Young, who retired in December.

"This is not an office job. We expect our associate dean to be on the road at least 50 percent of the time meeting with the different commodity and constituency groups around the state. If we are to participate in their research programs, we are expected to be at their tables.""This position is such an important one for the college that I felt we couldn't wait until we had a permanent dean," said Robert D. Arthur, who is heading the college during its search to replace former dean W. David Shoup, who stepped down last year.

Russin is a good fit not only because of his administrative experience as a department chair but because of his contacts in the state.

"He's worked with a lot of these different groups, is familiar with the system and knows what needs to be done," Arthur said.

In addition to research, the new associate dean also will assume new personnel duties, in part as a result of the elimination of the college's second associate dean's position.

"Because so much of our personnel administration revolves around technicians and graduate assistants working here as a result of grants and contracts, it makes sense that this flows through the associate dean for research," Arthur said.

A plant pathologist, Russin joined SIUC's Soybean Center for Research, Training and Outreach in 1998. His research since has focused on soybean disease assessment and yield loss; management of sudden death syndrome and soybean cyst nematode; the ecology and epidemiology of soybean viruses that cause yield loss; and the mechanisms by which corn resists aflatoxin accumulation. Over the course of his career, he has received nearly $3 million in research grants from commodity and industry groups and from federal and state agencies.

Russin became a full professor in 2001, the same year in which he took the reins of what was then the Department of Plant, Soil and General Agriculture. He is scientific adviser to the National Canola Research Board and the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board and a member of the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research's natural resources working group.

His professional affiliations include membership in the American Phytopathological Society, the Society of Nematologists and the Southern Soybean Disease Workers.

Russin earned his bachelor's degree in 1976 from the University of Maine, his master's in 1978 at the University of Delaware and his doctorate in 1983 from the University of Kentucky.