Alcorn names Wakefield interim dean of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Alcorn State University announces the appointment of Dr. Dexter B. Wakefield, professor and associate dean of Academic Programs of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (SAAS), as interim dean. He will begin in the role immediately.

He will replace Dr. Edmund Buckner, who will continue to serve SAAS as a professor.

“I would like to thank Dr. Buckner for his leadership over the years in the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences,” said Ontario Wooden, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “Moreover, I thank Dr. Wakefield for his willingness to assume the role of interim dean. He has an unwavering focus on student success. In addition, he is a respected scholar gaining national attention for his research and his recently released book, The Legacy of the New Farmers of America.”

Wakefield received his bachelor’s degree from Fort Valley State University and master’s and doctorate degrees from Purdue University in agricultural extension and education. He completed post-doctorate studies at Harvard University.

With over 26 years as an agriculture teacher and administrator in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas, he has prior experience working with the USDA-ASCS and the USDA-ARS. 

He has secured over a million dollars in external funds to support agricultural educational programming, graduating over 30 doctoral and master’s students and over 100 high school agricultural teachers.

While serving as a champion for the underserved, Wakefield has gained national attention with his qualitative approach to historical research associated with underrepresented students in agriculture.

In 2016, he received the Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award from Purdue University for his dedication to service to the profession. He has contributed to agriculture by formerly serving as the national president of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science (MANRRS) Organization and the National Association of Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA), Honorary Agricultural Education Organization. He has received recognition as an Outstanding Teacher and the national service award for Outstanding Contribution in the agricultural education profession. 

A national search will be conducted to find a permanent dean for the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.