Lexington, KY – Associate Dean of Research for the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Nancy Cox, has been named the school’s dean.
Cox will replace Scott Smith, who has led the college since 2001. He plans to return to the faculty, where he has been a member of 35 years. Cox has been in her current position since 2001 when she came to UK from Mississippi State University. Her appointment is subject to approval by the UK Board of Trustees at its December meeting.
Cox is widely regarded as a leader in the field, serving on several national policy boards and organizations and has close ties to both civic and agricultural leaders throughout the Commonwealth, which supported her candidacy for dean, according to a release from the university.
President Eli Capilouto praised both Cox and Smith, saying that the "UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is widely known as one of the leading colleges in the country. That's, in large part, because of the leadership of Scott Smith and his senior team, including Nancy Cox.”
"We are fortunate to have found someone with the rare combination of skills, intellect and reputation of Dr. Nancy Cox," UK Provost Christine Riordan stated in a release announcing Cox’s selection. "She is widely known and highly regarded throughout Kentucky for her knowledge and relationships with agriculture, political and civic leaders. At the same time, she is renowned nationally in helping lead the research and administrative efforts of one of the country's premier colleges of agriculture, including an extension service treasured throughout the Commonwealth."
Cox currently oversees the college’s research portfolio, which includes $25 million in external awards in fiscal year 2012. She represents the college on most Kentucky agricultural commodity boards, was the founding administrator of UK’s growing Ag Equine Programs, and has been the key administrator in alliances with private industry such as Alltech.
On the national level, she serves or has served on key federal policy boards such as the American Society of Animal Science and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Advisory Board for Research.
Riordan also thanked Smith for his long tenure as dean, which included leading the college in confronting pivotal issues such as Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome and the end of the tobacco price support program. Riordan said "UK is fortunate that Dean Smith will continue in our faculty ranks, providing his guidance to students, faculty and staff in the college and throughout the university."
Department of Entomology Chair John J. Obrycki, who co-chaired the search committee that helped select Cox, said, “Dr. Nancy Cox impressed the members of the search committee with her breadth of knowledge, administrative experience and understanding of the land-grant mission of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky. She stressed the need for a shared vision of the future of the newly renamed college and how we will address the diverse needs of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Cox begins her tenure as dean on Jan. 1.