Auburn University alumnus Paul Patterson has been named dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, effective immediately. Patterson has served as associate dean for instruction in Auburn’s College of Agriculture for almost seven years.
Auburn Provost Timothy Boosinger announced Patterson’s selection Feb. 19 following a national search.
“Dr. Patterson has an excellent connection with students, both in the classroom and in the field,” Boosinger said. “His background in agricultural economics, especially in international research and marketing, will help Auburn continue its role as a leader in food production for the world. We look forward to his leadership.”
In his role as dean, Patterson will report to Boosinger; as director of the AAES, he will report to Auburn President Jay Gogue. He succeeds Arthur Appel, who had served as interim dean and director since June 2015. Appel, a professor of entomology, will return to his research and teaching role in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.
Patterson, an Auburn native who graduated from the College of Agriculture in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and economics, returned to his alma mater in June 2009 to serve as associate dean of the college. In that position, he was responsible for all instructional programs in the college’s eight academic units, nine undergraduate programs and 19 graduate programs.
In that position, Patterson oversaw the development of five new undergraduate and graduate degree programs, increased alumni engagement with the college, improved academic advising services, expanded professional development opportunities for students, worked to enhance the college’s relationship with community colleges and led efforts to develop departmental promotion and tenure guidelines for faculty.
“All these accomplishments were realized through working with great faculty and staff,” he said.
Patterson said he is grateful for the opportunity to move Auburn agriculture forward.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as dean and director,” he said. “The College of Agriculture and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station have very important legacies at Auburn University and across the state and nation. We are at a pivotal point in history, where we must build for the future.
“I look forward to working with the faculty and staff, our university partners and our stakeholders to strengthen the college and experiment station,” he said. “It is my goal to make sure that Auburn is among the premier colleges of agriculture.”
After graduating from Auburn in 1985, Patterson enrolled at Purdue University and was awarded a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1987. He spent the next two years working as a cotton analyst for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and then returned to Purdue as a USDA National Needs Fellow in International Marketing and began pursuing his doctorate in agricultural economics. He completed his Ph.D. in 1994.
That same year, he joined the faculty at Arizona State University’s Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, where he taught courses in agricultural marketing, management science and food and agricultural policy and conducted researching on issues ranging from food marketing and industrial organization to international trade and food and agricultural policy. He was named interim dean of the school in 2006 and dean in 2007, serving in that role until returning to Auburn.
Patterson and wife Louisa have four grown daughters—Roxanna, Virginia, Amanda and Christine; one son, Clayton, a student at Auburn Junior High School; and one granddaughter, Ellen Olivia.
Patterson’s father, the late R.M. Patterson, was a longtime College of Agriculture faculty member who served as head of Research Data Analysis until his retirement in 1985. His mother, the late Jean Patterson, worked for many years as Auburn High School librarian.