Open forums continue for animal science department chair candidate finalists

Kelly Schiro

The final candidates for the chair of the department of animal science are still having open forums where the public can ask questions and learn about the finalists. 

The three finalists for the position include Mark McGuire from the University of Idaho; James Reecy, director of biotechnology and professor of animal science at Iowa State; and Andre-Denis Wright, professor of animal science at the University of Vermont.

McGuire spoke March 8, and Reecy will speak March 11.

The third finalist, Andre-Denis Wright has an open forum April 11. He was unavailable to be interviewed for this article.

All open forums take place in Kildee Hall.

McGuire is currently the head of the department of animal and veterinary science at the University of Idaho. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in dairy science and a doctorate’s degree in animal science.

As the head of the department, McGuire serves as administrator for the department by assessing programs, recognizing outstanding staff and guiding promotion and tenure, as well as working with the administration and beef and dairy industries.

McGuire said there are not many positions above a faculty member and the natural step for a person who likes leadership is to pursue positions that have leadership, like department chairs.

“The real exciting part of the position is that the ISU department of animal science is recognized by the world,” McGuire said. 

When making decisions, McGuire said he has to talk to people and find out their opinions in order to gather as much information as possible. In order to be successful, McGuire needs all the background information he can get.

“Life is all about people; it’s about getting the best out of the people you work with and the people in the community for the greater good,” McGuire said.

McGuire has almost 20 years of experience dealing with animal science at the university, regional and state levels and will bring this experience and perspective to Iowa State and the state of Iowa if chosen for the position.

Reecy has been at Iowa State just over 15 years.

Reecy is the director of biotechnology and is a professor of animal science and biotechnology. As director of biotechnology, he oversees 12 core facilities that supply services to facilitate research across campus.

Reecy is interested in becoming the department chair because the position would provide the ability to help the rest of the faculty in the department to be as good as they possibly can.

Reecy said that all of the skills he gained being the director of biotechnology and running his own research lab will help him to be a department chair.

As director of biotechnology, Reecy was able to play more of an administrative role. Through running a lab, he learned how to organize teams to create research projects. 

“I’d be there as an advocate to get the resources people need in order to succeed,” Reecy said.

One of Reecy’s core values to is treat everyone with respect and honesty. He believes that people should follow through with things that they say they’re going to do.

“I am very much a team player,” Reecy said.

He hopes that everyone else will model the value of respect and follow through on actions in order to help each other grow.

Reecy also said his management style is participatory, meaning that he likes to seek out as much information as possible before making a decision.

Reecy said that the open forums will be directed by the public. The finalists are there to answer questions and let the public know more about themselves.

A committee composed of animal science faculty, as well as industry representatives, will make a recommendation to Wendy Wintersteen, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Winterseen will then make the final decision of who to hire as the new chair of the department of animal science.