December 21, 2010

Jones is agriculture college’s acting associate dean

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Karen L. Jones, professor and interim chair of animal science, food and nutrition, is now the acting associate dean for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her appointment took effect Dec. 1.

Jones will concentrate on the areas of research and graduate studies, in keeping with recommendations from the faculty and search committee, said Todd A. Winters, interim dean of the college.

“Dr. Jones is the best qualified for the position. She has been interim department chair of animal science, food and nutrition and that is a very diverse department and a good training ground. She is well qualified for the position,” Winters said. Jones fills the position that Winters vacated when he became interim dean in early 2010. Winters will continue to oversee the areas of personnel administration and farms.

In conjunction with her new post, Winters said Jones will be the college’s research liaison with government agencies and with commodity and agribusiness groups. In addition, Jones will assist faculty in finding funding sources and preparing proposals and applications and will oversee internal and external research programs.

Jones said that in addition to her responsibilities in research development and administration, agricultural research and education laboratories (farms), graduate studies and overall administration, she will maintain a partial teaching load in her department too.

“My first priority is students. I will work to maintain and expand the quality of the classes and opportunities COAS offers, including the classes that occur at the farms. COAS has a new doctoral program and our first students will graduate from it in spring 2011,” Jones said. “I plan to recruit more students by spreading the word about our programs through electronic marketing, social media, scientific meetings, brochures and other means. The COAS has a strong history of research activity through commodity groups, state and national funding mechanisms. My goal is to improve our research productivity by identifying new areas of opportunity and by fostering interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaborations.”

She will also continue as interim chair of animal science, food and nutrition at present. During the short time she has served as interim chair, the undergraduate and graduate programs in human nutrition and dietetics earned accreditation. The University also got approval for a new master’s program in hospitality and tourism administration with work ongoing on a certificate program in that area as well, and an international recruiting effort begun for the program. In addition, the department has filled two assistant professor, six instructor and one civil service position and been heavily involved in repair initiatives for the farms following the May 8, 2009, storms.

An internal search process is ongoing and Winters anticipates the college will name someone to the interim chair position by late January or early February 2011.

Jones has a number of research interests, including exploring the causes for declines in the reproductive rates of cattle. She has experience cloning cattle and in the development of methods for improving cloning techniques. The focus of her research is on reproductive physiology in both beef cattle and horses with emphasis on problems caused by fescue toxicity. Her studies include the evaluation of an herbal supplement as treatment for fescue toxicity and evaluating an ethanol by-product as a cattle feed ingredient.

She teaches courses in animal and agricultural biotechnology, animal breeding and genetics, livestock physiology and animal products and processing.

A three-degree graduate of Texas A & M University, Jones earned her bachelor’s in animal science there in 1989. She also holds a 1996 master’s and 1999 doctorate, both in veterinary physiology, from the university, located in College Station, Texas.

Jones came to SIUC in 1999 as assistant professor and earned promotion to associate professor in 2005. She became interim chair of animal science, food and nutrition in 2009 and a full professor the following year.

She previously was a laboratory technician for Granada BioSciences in Texas, an in vitro fertilization consultant for TransOva Genetics in Iowa and held a graduate assistant research and teaching position at Texas A & M University in the veterinary physiology department.

Bringing in about $800,000 in research grant funding since coming to SIUC, Jones also has extensive publications to her credit. She was the Outstanding Teacher and the Outstanding Advisor for the College of Agricultural Sciences in 2009. She won the Faculty Service Award from the college in 2005 and the Undergraduate Student Government’s Distinguished Faculty Award for 2001 as well.

Along with serving on a number of college and university committees and councils, Jones holds a number of professional memberships, including in the Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society, the International Embryo Transfer Society, the Society for the Investigation of Early Pregnancy, the American Society of Animal Science and Sigma Xi.