CORVALLIS, Ore. - Thayne Dutson, dean of the nationally top-ranked College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station at Oregon State University, today announced his plans to retire on June 30. Dutson has been dean of the college since November 1993 and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station since 1987. He holds the Reub A. Long Professorship.
Dutson has overseen significant expansion of the college's education and research roles, many of them in collaboration with other organizations. These include design, construction, and program expansion of the OSU Seafood Laboratory in Astoria—a partnership with the Seafood Consumer Center there—and establishment of the Food Innovation Center in Portland, in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Also during his tenure, the college has won designation as the home of a new Marine Mammal Institute, and as western regional headquarters for the national Sun Grant program.
"Although he has served during challenging economic times for higher education, Thayne has guided the College of Agricultural Sciences to sustained excellence both in discovery of new knowledge and in education and technology transfer. Our students on campus and the state's many agricultural producers, food industries, and natural resource managers across the state are among the many beneficiaries," said OSU President Ed Ray.
The national newsletter Science Watch in 2006 reported that OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences is ranked number one in the nation among the top 100 federally funded U.S. universities in agricultural sciences for "citation impact of published research" in the field. Science Watch described the listing as showing the universities whose research papers attracted citations at a rate notably above the world average over the past five years. The college ranks ninth worldwide in citations impact in agricultural sciences for the 10-year period from January 1996 to February 2006.
Dutson himself is one of OSU’s most cited faculty members. As a food scientist, his work on enzymes and muscle-tissue biology and on techniques for studying muscle tissue continues to be widely quoted by colleagues across the country and around the world.
To measure the college's performance, Dutson introduced a public reporting system called "Oregon Invests!" that assesses economic, social, and environmental consequences of its programs. It became a national model for accountability among colleges of agriculture and natural resources.
"A theme that runs throughout Thayne Dutson's tenure as leader of the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station is one of mission fulfillment and accountability," said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. "Thayne has been a university leader in cross-college collaboration, support of faculty excellence and innovation, and prudent management of his college's resources. This has been of great benefit to the Oregonians we serve."
The college enrolls 1,141 undergraduate students and 264 graduate students. It is the university's largest research enterprise, with an annual budget of more than $60 million from state and federal appropriations and gifts, grants and contracts. The college includes 11 branch research centers at 15 locations across the state. About half of the OSU Extension Service's statewide programs are carried out by faculty of the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The college has enjoyed wide support from its alumni and friends. During Dutson's tenure, the number of endowed professorships in the College made possible by private gifts has grown to 19.
OSU recruited Dutson in 1987 to be director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station and associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. He served in that role until 1993 when he succeeded Conrad J. Weiser as dean, and continued as director of the Experiment Station. Before coming to OSU, Dutson was a faculty member at Texas A&M University and at Michigan State University where he headed the Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Dutson is past chairman of the board of directors of the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC), past president of Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and a fellow of the 22,000-member Institute of Food Technologists. He is a former board member of the American Meat Science Association and is a member of the American Institute of Nutrition, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Randhawa said an interim dean will be appointed soon to work with Dutson to ensure a smooth transition. Concurrently, OSU will initiate a national search for a new dean, Randhawa said. Dutson will continue to serve on a part-time basis as director of the western Sun Grant center until a new director is selected.