Dr. William A. Dugas has been appointed interim director of Texas AgriLife Research, the state’s primary agency for research in the agricultural, environmental and life sciences.
The appointment of Dugas, a veteran administrator with 30 years experience in the agency, was made on Thursday by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
“Bill Dugas has an excellent grasp of our people and programs, and he will do an outstanding job,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences.
In nominating him for the interim position, Hussey noted that Dugas will not be a candidate for the permanent director’s post, for which a search committee will be appointed shortly.
The director’s position came open when Hussey was promoted from director to vice chancellor and dean in December.
AgriLife Research had a $180 million budget last year. It employs about 1,700 people, and conducts research at several system universities and at research and extension centers around the state. Its programs affect citizens in Texas, the U.S. and throughout the world.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with our employees to enhance the impacts of our programs,” Dugas said. “I especially look forward to working with our scientists to find ways to help Texans and others improve their lives through advancements in science and technology.”
Dugas was also recently promoted to two other key administrative positions. As associate vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences, he serves as the chief operating officer. In this position, he assists Hussey and agency directors in managing AgriLife Research and the three other agriculture-related agencies within the Texas A&M System: Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Forest Service and Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.
As associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, he assists Hussey with managing operational issues such as facilities and health and safety.
Dugas has been a top administrator for AgriLife Research since 2005, when he was named associate director for operations. He has been the agency’s deputy director since 2007 and an interim associate dean for the college since 2008.
Earlier in his career with the agency, Dugas worked as a scientist and later the lead administrator at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Temple.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in climatology/meteorology from California State University in Chico, a master’s degree in climatology from the University of Illinois, and a doctoral degree in soil science and biometeorology from Utah State University.
Dugas has authored more than 130 scientific publications. He was a Visiting Scientist Fellow in Australia in 1985; a Guest Fellow of Royal Society, U.K., in 1991, and a Visiting Scientist in New Zealand in 1997. He was awarded the Texas A&M University Deputy Chancellor's Award in Excellence for Research in 1993.