Texas Tech Announces Appointment of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dean

Interim dean since August, John M. Burns will assume the role of dean of the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR).

Written by Cory Chandler

Interim dean John M. Burns will assume the role of dean of the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR), Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Bill Marcy announced Tuesday.

Burns, himself a former Texas Tech provost who came out of retirement in August to serve as interim dean, committed to a minimum three years in the position opened by the retirement of Marvin Cepica.

When he retired, Burns liked to quip that only an offer to serve as CASNR’s dean could entice him to return to the working world. He points to the college’s polite students and hardworking faculty – who carry heavy class loads while also advising students and claiming significant research funding – as examples of why the college appeals to him.

"This is a great bunch of people, and they are fantastic to work with," he said. "I have enjoyed my time as interim dean and I am looking forward to what lies ahead."

He said he is excited to work with CASNR to expand its research and realize potential development opportunities, such as increasing endowments for the college – one of the 30 largest agricultural programs in the nation.

Burns was provost of Texas Tech from 1997-2002, when he resigned the position to return to classroom teaching and to serve as associate vice president for undergraduate research. As provost, Burns oversaw all academic programs.

"The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources boasts a remarkable record of achievement both in academics and research," said Texas Tech President Jon Whitmore. "John is a longtime member of the Texas Tech family, has extensive administrative experience, and already has proven through his interim post that he can provide the type of leadership necessary to continue this success."

A faculty member at Texas Tech since 1969, Burns was chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences from 1987 to 1995. He then served as vice provost for academic affairs until his appointment as interim provost in 1996.

He has received seven outstanding teaching awards and has led a variety of university committees during his tenure at Texas Tech. In 1988, he was named an Outstanding Centennial Alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences of New Mexico State University.

"John Burns’ tenure at Texas Tech has been marked with excellence," said Chancellor Kent Hance. "Promoting outstanding leaders on our faculty at Texas Tech University helps ensure that we not only recruit the best students, but that our exceptional research initiatives continue."
Cepica retired Aug. 31 after three decades with Texas Tech University in a variety of academic and administrative posts.

As dean, Cepica oversaw the academic lives of more than 1,400 graduate and undergraduate students. Under his leadership, the college’s endowment fund increased to $32 million and he presided over the dedication of a new state-of-the-art $17 million Animal and Food Sciences Building.

CONTACT: Bill Marcy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2184, or William.marcy@ttu.edu.