School of AREAS hires Dr. Daniel James Collins as new Department of Agriculture chair

School of AREAS hires Dr. Daniel James Collins as new Department of Agriculture chair

2012 Dr. Collins 

Dr. Daniel James Collins, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, was recently named the new chair of the Department of Agriculture, School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences (AREAS), at Alcorn State University.

Prior to joining Alcorn, Dr. Collins served as professor of plant pathology in the Urban Forestry Program, College of Agriculture Family and Consumer Sciences, at Southern University and A & M College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Some of Dr. Collins’ most notable accomplishments while at Southern University include leading the Urban Forestry faculty in writing, and development of the Ph.D. program in Urban Forestry. Dr. Collins also serves as a collaborator with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protections and Quarantine (PPQ) Plant Bio-security Curriculum. He developed the first graduate course in agricultural bio-security at Southern, organized and hosted the annual Global Food Security and Plant Bio-security Symposium, in partnership with the USDA APHIS PPQ offered a video teleconferencing course Challenges in Plant Resource Protection, and established a short course in plant bio-security in partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA APHIS PPQ, Department of Homeland Security, and other partners.

Dr. Collins also served the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Beltsville, Maryland as a research plant pathologist (postdoctoral fellow). His other appointments include working as assistant professor and extension plant pathologist at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, assistant professor of biology at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, associate professor and director of Graduate Studies, and was later promoted to program leader for Urban Forestry and professor.

Additionally, Dr. Collins was successful in establishing partnerships with various USDA agencies, state, national and international university partners in plant pathology and bio-security. He has worked with limited-resource farmers, agribusiness, community greening groups, faith-based organizations, and developed relationships and partnerships with Pre-K through 12 school administrators, teachers, students, and parents.

Dr. Collins has been actively involved throughout his career in science outreach to pre-K through 12 schools in activities such as mentoring, career day speaker, school gardening, science fair judge, conducting hands-on demonstrations in his lab, greenhouse, and field research plots. He has mentored over 10 undergraduate research students in his lab, and directed master and Ph.D. students’ thesis and dissertation research.

In addition to the above accomplishments, Dr. Collins has considerable experience in integrated pest management, and plant bio-security. He worked on biological, cultural and chemical control of small grains, forage, and vegetable crops.

Dr. Collins has written over 60 research and extension publications, and served on a variety of university and professional scientific committees. He has presented papers on his research at national, regional and international meetings in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Dr. Collins earned his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1981 from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, and his master’s degree in soil and plant science (plant pathology emphasis) in 1983 from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Alabama. He later received his Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1988.

“I am honored to be selected as the chair of the Department of Agriculture at Alcorn State University, stated Dr. Collins. “I am committed to academic excellence and preparing students in agricultural sciences to be nationally and globally competitive, and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners in making Alcorn the school of choice for food and agricultural sciences.”