Alton Thompson, chair of the SANREM CRSP’s board of directors and dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has been appointed interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Thompson will become NCA&T’s second-highest official on July 1, succeeding Janice G. Brewington, who is retiring.
“Dr. Alton Thompson’s outstanding performance as dean of our award-winning School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has certainly prepared him for this important new leadership role as chief academic officer for NCA&T,” Chancellor Stanley F. Battle said June 24 in announcing the appointment. “Thompson’s track record in academics, research, recruitment, and grantsmanship will serve him well as the No. 1 leader of undergraduate and graduate instruction.”
Thompson is one of the original directors of SANREM CRSP Phase III and was elected chair at the board’s first meeting in August 2005. He also serves on the boards of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, the Rural Advancement Fund International, and is chair of the 1890 Association of Research Directors and the 1890 Council of Deans of Agriculture. In past years, he has served on advisory boards for the Ford Foundation’s Rural Economic Policy Program, Census of Agriculture Advisory Panel of the National Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the Southern Governors’ Southern Growth Policies Board.
A native of Chocowinity, N.C., Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University and a master’s and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. His academic specialty is the interface of statistics, research methods, demography, and rural sociology. He has published 25 articles in refereed journals, seven book chapters, and a book titled Quality of Life among Rural Residents in North Carolina: Community and Life Satisfaction. His research focus includes agro-medicine, rural poverty and development, labor economics, and structure of agriculture. Thompson also has been instrumental in securing more than $5 million in outside research funds for the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at NCA&T.
NCA&T will conduct a national search to find a permanent successor for the provost position, officials said. An interim dean will be appointed to fill Thompson’s position at the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.