WILLIAMS TAPPED TO HEAD AU'S HORTICULTURE DEPARTMENT
AUBURN, Ala. -- J. David Williams, an Auburn University horticulture alumnus and a 15-year veteran of the Department of Horticulture faculty, has been named head of the department, AU College of Agriculture Dean Richard Guthrie has announced.
Williams succeeds Charles Gilliam, who had served for five years as department chair. Gilliam has returned to his faculty position, where he focuses on ornamental production research. Williams' appointment, effective Feb. 1, marks the department's transition from a chair to a head system of leadership.
A Florida native, Williams earned his bachelor's degree in landscape and ornamental horticulture from Auburn in 1980 and his master's in horticulture in 1985. He worked as an Extension horticulture specialist at Auburn until the late 1980s and then, in 1991, received his doctorate in horticulture from the Ohio State University. With Ph.D. in hand, he returned to join the faculty at Auburn.
While at Auburn, Williams' responsibilities have been divided between Extension, where he has focused on home horticulture, and the classroom. He won the College of Agriculture Dean's Awards for Teaching Excellence in 2000 and advising excellence in 2005, and he received the alumni undergraduate teaching excellence award from the AU Alumni Association in 2002.
Williams said that in his new role, one of his priorities will be to ensure that the department continues to meet the growing needs of the state's booming, $1.9 billion green industry, providing the research, the extended learning opportunities and the qualified workforce that it demands.
"We also have strong ties with Alabama's fruit and vegetable producers, and I look forward to being part of the future of these critical segments of horticulture," Williams said.
With an enrollment of 247, Auburn's undergraduate horticulture program is one of the largest in the U.S.