AmericanFarm.com

Porter new UME associate dean, associate director

By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
Senior Editor

(April 26, 2016) Dr. Tom Porter, the immediate past chairman of the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences in the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has accepted the invitation of Dean Craig Beyrouty to serve as interim associate dean and associate director of University of Maryland Extension.
Dr. Porter began his appointment April 11 for a period not to exceed 18 months or until a permanent associate dean and director is found.
His professional responsibilities will be distributed as 70 percent in his new Extension leadership role and 30 percent in his faculty appointment in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences.
His Extension responsibilities will be conducted from the associate director’s office in Symons Hall. He was still getting settled in his new office when he had the opportunity to reflect on his last 20 years in College Park.
He joined the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland in 1997, and he was subsequently promoted to associate professor and professor. He served as chairman of the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences for eight years, from 2007 to 2015.
That’s eight years, one five-year term and another three years. Unsure of the future, he said he didn’t want to “step down just yet” so he negotiated a three-year term with, then former dean, Dr. Cheng-i Wei.
That appointment expired eight months ago and Dr. Porter said he simply rejoined the faculty to focus on his research.
With the appointment of Dean Beyrouty, Dr. Porter said he was aware that on campus, which he noted is “squeezed” into an urban area, of the new dean’s land grant spirit, and “I wanted to be a part of it.”
When he heard the position of interim associate dean and associate Extension director was open, he filed an application.
“It was an opportunity,” he said, “to serve the college and to help guide it through the transition.”
Dr. Porter received his Ph.D. in animal physiology from the University of Minnesota in 1988.
Prior to joining the Department of Poultry Science at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in 1993, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Medical University of South Carolina.
He described those institutions, particularly Texas A&M, as “steeped in the land grant tradition.”
According to Dr. Beyrouty, Dr. Porter’s service at Maryland has been notable for its Extension and outreach efforts.
The dean noted that Porter had reached out to the animal and poultry industries in the state as well as created a competitive grant program for Extension efforts in grass-fed beef.
He also led an effort to preserve and renovate the Clarksville Dairy Research and Education Facility.
He hired staff coordinators for equine and poultry Extension and for dairy and beef Extension and, Dr. Beyrouty noted, Dr. Porter also created faculty positions in livestock management and poultry research and Extension in addition to leading the effort to develop a “Master Plan” for the Campus Farm as a teaching and outreach facility.
His accomplishments have been often recognized including the Dean Gordon Cairns Award for Distinguished Creative Work and Teaching in Agriculture.
Dr. Porter currently serves as editor-in-chief of the journal Poultry Science and this year, he will be named a Fellow of the Poultry Science Association.
Said Dr. Beyrouty: “Tom and I have discussed a number of items regarding needs in Extension, and he is anxious to work with our faculty and staff in the counties and on campus to support their efforts and to enhance the organization.”