Montana State University

MSU announces changes in leadership of College of Agriculture

August 30, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

Montana State University’s dean of the College of Agriculture and its director of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Jeff Jacobsen, is stepping down from his posts after 10 years to return to teaching, research and outreach as a faculty member. 

Glenn Duff, head of the Department of Animal and Range Sciences, will assume both positions as an interim effective Sept. 3. A national search for a new dean and director will begin immediately.

“Jeff’s contributions as dean and director during the past 10 years have been impressive. He’s done a lot for the university and for the state’s agricultural community and economy,” said MSU Provost Martha Potvin.

During his time as dean and director, Jacobsen oversaw significant changes to the College of Agriculture and the Agricultural Experiment Station:

  • During the 2001 Montana Legislature, $1 million was appropriated to the Agricultural Experiment Station for improvements to its facilities with the understanding that another $1 million be raised in private donations. Jacobsen oversaw a successful campaign to raise the match, which allowed the Agricultural Experiment Station to meet some of its most pressing needs.
  • Jacobsen also oversaw the successful effort to match a state appropriation by raising more than half of the $15.7 million needed for the Animal Bioscience Building, which opened in 2010. The 40,000-square-foot building has been a tremendous asset to our students, faculty, staff and community. Jacobsen’s relationship with the state’s agricultural community had much to do with its successful completion. 
  • During Jacobsen’s time as dean, the College of Agriculture’s enrollment has grown by 18.5 percent; it has remained one of the university’s research powerhouses and it has contributed significantly to the economic prosperity of the state with its steady stream of agricultural research, technologies and well-educated graduates.

“The university and the state will continue to benefit from Jeff’s experience and talents when he returns to the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, which he first joined in 1986,” Potvin said.

Jacobsen’s past research has focused on addressing nutrient management and cycling in cropland, rangeland and natural systems with goals of understanding the efficient uses, environmental protection, ecology, and optimum economic returns. The American Society of Agronomy (2000) and the Soil Science Society of America (2005) each recognized his career excellence by designating him a Fellow in each society.

“I have had the privilege of serving in two administrative capacities at MSU,” Jacobsen said. "Over the last decade, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and challenges provided with this highly visible and unique position. The College, Experiment Station and MSU are positioned to leap to even greater levels of success and prominence.”

Duff, who will take on the interim role as dean and director, is currently the head of MSU’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences. He holds a doctorate in animal nutrition and animal physiology from New Mexico State University; a master’s in animal physiology from the University of Arkansas; and a bachelor’s in animal science from Northwest Missouri State University.

As head of Animal and Range Sciences, Dr. Duff initiated a “Bringing MSU to You” tour in which ARS faculty travel the state meeting with livestock producers, the public and potential students. He has also overseen an expansion of the faculty ranks in ARS, hiring an assistant professor of range ecology, an assistant professor of rumen/gastrointestinal microbiology, and an assistant professor of genetics. The department plans to add two more tenure-track positions and one non-tenure track this year.  From 2011 to 2012, the department’s student enrollment grew from 318 to 338.

“I’ve watched Glenn put his department on a great trajectory and I know the college and the Agricultural Experiment Station will be in good hands with him while we conduct this search,” Potvin said.

MSU’s College of Agriculture has more than 1,000 students and is consistently the second most productive college for research expenditures after the much larger College of Letters and Science. The College of Agriculture offers 11 bachelors, nine masters and four doctoral degree programs in five departments and one division.

The Montana Agricultural Experiment Station conducts vital research on crops and livestock at seven research centers covering the state’s diverse climate and geography. MAES activities are comprehensively integrated with the College of Agriculture and MSU teaching, research and service functions.



Tracy Ellig, MSU News Service, (406) 994-5607,