STILLWATER , Okla. — David R. Porter has been appointed head of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' department of plant and soil sciences at Oklahoma State University , effective July 30.

"Dr. Porter's extensive and outstanding record of leadership, educational and research accomplishments, combined with his proven ability to seek out and secure extramural funding, makes him highly qualified for the position of department head," said Robert E. Whitson, vice president, dean and director of agricultural programs at OSU. "We are very pleased that he is joining our agricultural leadership team."

As department head, Porter will provide leadership for planning, developing, integrating and implementing departmental teaching, research, extension and international programs; diversity efforts of the department in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, staff and students; and the pursuit of competitive grants, research contracts, gifts and other special funding to include endowments for scholarships, fellowships, chairs and professorships.

"This is a rare opportunity for me to rejoin an institution I deeply admire and with which I have a long association," Porter said.

Porter is a Cowboy alumnus, and has held adjunct assistant, associate and full professor positions with the OSU department of plant and soil sciences at different times over the years.

"I appreciate the essential role the department plays in providing leadership for teaching, research and extension in Oklahoma ," he said. "Building from the land-grant philosophy, I believe an effective leader must provide strategies for growth, develop consensus of action through team-building, build in systems of accountability and provide a high level of optimism and enthusiasm for the future."

Porter currently serves as research leader and supervisory research geneticist of the Wheat, Peanut and Other Field Crops Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, in Stillwater. He initially joined USDA-ARS in 1990 as a research geneticist.

As part of his duties with USDA-ARS, Porter served as project coordinator for the organization's Area-wide Pest Management Program for Russian wheat aphid and greenbug, a 5-year, $2.75 million program.

He previously held research positions with Texas Tech University, Ring Around Products Inc. and OSU.

As a researcher, Porter has developed and released improved wheat and barley germplasm for Oklahoma producers, and has made significant discoveries in the genetics of insect pest resistance in plants.

Porter is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Hard Winter Wheat Improvement Committee and Southwestern Wheat Research and Education Consortium.

He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in agronomy from OSU in 1981 and 1983, respectively, and his doctoral degree in agronomy from Texas Tech University in 1990. Porter served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1973-1977, attaining the rank of sergeant.