Campus News

Two new deans, VP for student affairs appointed

University officials have announced the appointment of three individuals to fill key positions at UGA. Jay Scott Angle is the new dean of agricultural and environmental sciences. Long-time UGA faculty member Maurice Daniels is the new dean of the School of Social Work. And after serving a year as interim vice president for student affairs, Rodney Bennett will take the position permanently.

Ag, environmental sciences dean

An internationally known soil scientist who holds the number-two position in the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, Angle will become agricultural and environmental sciences dean Aug. 15 pending approval by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. He will fill the position left vacant when Gale A. Buchanan stepped down as dean and director last Dec. 31 and retired from UGA on April 30. Josef Broder has served as interim dean and director since Jan. 1.

Angle is interim executive associate dean and director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service and the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He oversees day-to-day operations, long-term planning and financial resources for the experiment station and extension service, and works closely with the college dean on college administrative matters.

A widely published researcher in the field of soil microbiology and biochemistry, he is an authority on phytoremediation, the use of sewage sludge to spur crop growth, and the risks of genetically engineered organisms in agriculture.

He has served as acting ­executive director of the Northeast Research Association, which promotes regional cooperation in agricultural research, and has also been chair of both the national and northeast regional organizations of Experiment Station Directors.

UGA President Michael F. Adams says Angle “brings a 21st-century view of agricultural and environmental sciences that will help project our already-strong college into the upper echelon in the country. I believe he will bring an increased emphasis on research, food processing and environmental concerns while maintaining UGA’s historic commitment to extension outreach and Georgia’s all-important agriculture industry.”

“The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is one of the prestigious programs in the U.S. and one that has remained true to its land-grant mission,” says Angle. “I consider it an honor to be selected as dean and director of such an outstanding institution. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students, and all citizens of the state of Georgia, as we move the college forward.”

Angle earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and master’s in soil microbiology at the University of Maryland and has spent his entire professional career there except for three years when he worked on his doctorate in soil microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Missouri.

He joined the agronomy faculty at Maryland in 1981 and devoted much of the next 13 years to research and teaching. In 1994 he moved into administration as associate director of the Agricultural Experiment Stationand associate dean of the college, and in 2003 became interim executive associate dean for the experiment station and Maryland Cooperative Extension.

Social work dean

A teacher, researcher and administrator in UGA’s School of Social Work for 26 years, Maurice C. Daniels is a noted scholar of the civil rights movement in Georgia.

Daniels, who is currently associate dean, will become dean July 1 pending approval by the board of regents.

The social work dean’s post has been filled on an interim basis since June 2003, when former dean Bonnie Yegidis left to take a position in the provost’s office. Nancy Kropf has been interim dean for the past year.

Since joining the school’s faculty in 1979, Daniels has held several positions, including assistant to the dean of the Graduate School, director of the master of social work program and director of the Patricia Roberts Harris graduate fellowship program. He has been associate dean since last August.

Daniels’s research on civil rights in Georgia has resulted in a book and three documentary films about key figures in the desegregation of the university. He has also written and spoken on such topics as social work graduate education and the effects of race on aspirations of school children, and he has worked with organizations in Athens dealing with poverty and social justice issues.

President Adams says Daniels’s appointment “demonstrates once again UGA’s capacity to identify the best candidates available, whether external or internal to the institution. Dr. Daniels has proven himself over 26 years at UGA to be an effective researcher, an outstanding teacher and a helpful colleague. I am pleased at this opportunity to work with him to further the goals and thus the national stature of the School of Social Work.”

Much of Daniels’s teaching is centered in the school’s master’s degree program. He teaches graduate courses, including some he created, and has directed the M.S.W. program since 1997.

As director of the U.S. Department of Education-funded Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship program, he helped the university obtain more than $1.5 million for assistance to graduate students. For more than 10 years he has been adviser to the Graduate and Professional Scholars Organization, which provides support and assistance to black graduate and professional students.

Daniels was a founder in 1979 of the university’s Black Faculty and Staff Organization. He chairs a diversity recruitment and retention committee in the social work school and also serves on the president’s Minority Advisory Committee.

He helped create the design for the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity.

He is co-founder and director of the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, a partnership with UGA’s Richard B. Russell Library to chronicle the civil rights movement in Georgia. As part of the project, Daniels wrote a book about Horace Ward, the first African American to apply for admission to UGA.

Daniels was also senior researcher and executive producer of award-­winning television documentaries about Ward and Hamilton Holmes, one of the first two African Americans admitted to UGA. A fourth film is under way on the late civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell, who led the legal team that enabled Holmes and Charlayne Hunter to gain admission to UGA.

Daniels earned an M.S.W. degree and an Ed.D. degree at Indiana University. Before joining UGA he was a social worker in Indianapolis public schools and social services coordinator for the Indianapolis Sickle Cell Center.

VP for student affairs

Rodney D. Bennett, who became interim vice president this past July when Richard Mullendore stepped down, will take the position permanently on July 1 pending regents’ approval. Previously he had been dean of students, a post he continued to hold while serving as interim vice president.

“Dr. Bennett has proven himself an effective and affable leader during his time as interim vice president,” says President Adams. “I am pleased that the provost has recommended that the appointment be made permanent, and I wholeheartedly agree with that recommendation.”

As vice president, Bennett will oversee departments that provide services and assistance to help UGA’s 33,400 undergraduate and graduate students succeed scholastically and grow as individuals. Units in student affairs include student financial aid, the University Health Center, student housing, recreational sports and the Disability Resource Center.

Student affairs also includes the department of student activities, Greek Life, the Office of Judicial Programs, the ­African-American Cultural Center, the Student Leadership Center and Multicultural Services and Programs. The division has more than 500 full-time and 90 part-time staff members and employs more than 650 student workers.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the University of Georgia as vice president for student affairs,” Bennett says. “I look forward to continuing my work with staff members in the Division of Student Affairs and others across campus to provide high quality programs and services that enhance the learning environment of our students.”

While serving as interim vice president, Bennett reorganized the division’s administrative structure and implemented a plan to equalize salaries for similar positions in units. He was instrumental in developing a policy to notify parents when students violate the university’s policy on alcohol and other drugs a second time, and he provided leadership in creating a plan for a $40 million expansion of the Tate Student Center.

He strengthened staff development by bringing outside experts to campus for workshops and meetings with staff members and graduate students. He also supported a new program aimed at increasing minority student enrollment by bringing admitted students to campus for an overnight stay. Private fundraising in the division increased by 59 percent in the past year.

Bennett also supervised a series of research projects to gather information from other institutions that would help student affairs staff work more effectively. The research focused on such areas as alcohol education and parental notification, first-year experience programs, strategic planning and Web site reviews.

Provost Arnett C. Mace says Bennett “has provided outstanding leadership and vision during his tenure as interim vice president. His administrative skills and management style have led to enhanced communications and cooperation between various units of the Student Affairs Division for the benefit of our students.

“Rodney is highly respected and valued by faculty, staff, students and alumni for his leadership and administrative skills,” Mace says. “It has been a joy working with him, and I look forward to even greater opportunities to advance the Division of Student Affairs under his leadership.”

Bennett came to UGA in 2001 when the position of dean of students was created. While serving in that position he helped institute a revised student conduct code, created a dean of students cabinet for diversity and helped raise more than $2 million in private gifts and pledges for the student affairs division.

From November 2002 to July 2003, Bennett served as interim associate provost for institutional diversity at UGA. He is also an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Education, teaching courses in the department of counseling and human development services.

Previously he was at Winthrop University in South Carolina, where he was dean of students, and at Middle Tennessee State University, where he was associate dean of student life.

Bennett holds a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Tennessee State University. He earned a specialist in education degree, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mass communication, from Middle Tennessee State University and has received that school’s Black Alumni Achievement Award.