Move to provost keeps
Randy Woodson’s decision to leave his position as Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture and accept Purdue President France A. Córdova’s offer to become the university provost on May 1 was not an easy one.
“I absolutely loved being a part of the College of Agriculture,” Woodson says. “The decision to leave Purdue Agriculture was a very tough call for me. It has been my home for 23 years.”
Woodson became a full professor in 1993 and was appointed director of the plant biology program in 1995. He was head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from 1996 to 1998, when he was named associate dean of agricultural research programs.
“This is such a great place,” says Woodson, who served as dean from 2004 to 2008. “The College of Agriculture has a laserlike focus on our missions in discovery, engagement and learning. The faculty, staff and students are outstanding. The State of Indiana and, in particular, the people associated with agriculture value what we do at Purdue and are true partners in our efforts.”
While the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, Woodson led the college’s effort to hire more than 100 new faculty; partnered with the College of Science to launch the Climate Change Research Center; developed or enhanced a number of student success programs, such as leadership development and study abroad; increased sponsored research from $41.6 million in 2003-04 to $67 million; hired more than 100 new county Extension educators; and created the college’s Office of Multicultural Programs.
“The efforts we’ve made to hire and retain outstanding faculty, Extension educators and staff is something I’m very proud of,” Woodson says.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with an outstanding leadership team. Dale Whittaker (associate dean of academic programs) has significantly advanced the academic mission of the college through the implementation of leadership development programs, agreements with other institutions for student transfers to Purdue, and dual-credit courses with Indiana high schools.”
Oddly enough, one of Woodson’s first duties as provost will be to select his own replacement as dean of agriculture. Since May 1, Jay Akridge has been interim dean of agriculture.
But Woodson doesn’t think finding a quality successor to guide the college will be a difficult assignment.
“Purdue Agriculture is the best job in the country,” Woodson says. “We will attract a tremendous talent to this position. I look forward to working with the search committee to develop a very strong pool of candidates for us to consider. In the end, I look forward to hiring a very strong dean for the College of Agriculture.”
As provost, Woodson is responsible for oversight of all Purdue colleges and schools and related academic activities in coordination with the Office of the President. His office will oversee academic systems such as the libraries, computing center and student services (admissions, registrar, financial aid, health facilities), along with all Purdue cultural centers.
The provost’s office also oversees issues of academic concern for the university’s four regional campuses and Purdue Extension.
“Randy Woodson is well respected internationally as well as throughout our university,” Córdova says. “He was selected from an outstanding national group of candidates to become our chief academic officer. As a scholar, he has distinguished himself globally in the fields of plant science and horticulture. As an administrator, he is a proven leader with a strong vision and the ability to work productively with faculty, staff and students. I am thrilled that he has accepted my offer to lead the academic mission of the university.”
Woodson says he is looking forward to this new chapter in his service to Purdue.
“This is a very exciting time in Purdue’s history,” he says. “We have made important strides in our quest to be a leading public research university, and I look forward to helping our students succeed, growing the research enterprise, and enhancing Purdue’s reputation as a globally engaged and locally responsive university.”
Contact Woodson at firstname.lastname@example.org