Donald R. Mulvaney

Associate Professor

Animal Sciences

(334) 844 1514 


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114 Upchurch Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • Ph.D. in Animal Husbandry, Michigan State University
  • M.S., in Animal Husbandry, Michigan State University
  • B.S., in Animal Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


A product of a diversified family farm upbringing, immersed in FFA and 4-H experiences, Dr. Mulvaney pursued his passion for animal agriculture at the University of Illinois where he competed on livestock, meats judging and evaluation teams. After a stint of teaching high school ag education, he accepted a role to teach meat science and coach meats & meat animal evaluation teams at MSU where his passion for research in growth and muscle biology was ignited. Dr. Mulvaney’s research interests have historically related to regulatory biology of muscle and meat through fetal programming but also focused on factors to enhance student development, teaching, leadership process and analytics around communication strategies which can help graduates address ag industry issues. In addition to research areas of biology, he developed several courses in leadership and communication leading to his development of the minor in leadership studies within the College of Agriculture, a revised Ag Communications degree curriculum and launch of a campus-wide leadership minor (LEAD). His scholarly works include $7+ million in grants and approximately 250 refereed journal articles, non-refereed articles, abstracts at national/international meetings, and invited presentations combined. He has served as a former Associate Director for the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning where he facilitated New Faculty Scholars, Future Faculty mentoring, classroom assessments and other professional faculty development programming.

He has been actively involved in distance education programs in the college, campus and national level as co-PI of USDA grants to develop distance education consortia which ultimately became Ag*IDEA. He has developed or taught over 33 unique courses at AU. He has been recognized as a USDA National Educator Award nominee, a two-time recipient of the Dean’s Teaching Award and the SGA Outstanding Faculty Award. He has advised numerous student organizations to include the college’s SGA group (Council of all College clubs), Ag Ambassadors, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), Collegiate Young Farmers, Block and Bridle Club and advisees in Ag Communication, Animal Sciences and Interdisciplinary Leadership studies. In his leadership role within the COA Dean’s Office, as Coordinator of Leadership and Student Development, he directed the CoA Leadership programming which included coordination of the minor in Leadership Studies, teaching leadership courses, workshops and training programs. He is an ESCOP/ACOP Lead program (now LEAD 21) participant and a multiple program certified leadership trainer, he is a program speaker, workshop facilitator, leadership and men ministry consultant and holds professional memberships in teaching and leadership associations. A servant leader throughout his career, he was elected and has served in the highest faculty leadership and shared governance roles as both Secretary and Chair of the AU Senate. He has been highly involved in Outreach programming, starting and coordinating the Young Cattlemen Leadership Program (YCLP), Ag Leadership Education Academy (ALEA), Youth in Praxis (YIPS), Beef Ambassador, B-ELITE plus the annual Beef Cattle Conference, various youth leadership and other related programs which enabled recognition with one of AU’s highest recognitions for Excellence in Faculty Outreach.


  • Auburn University Chair, AU Senate (2020-2022)
  • Auburn University Secretary, AU Senate (2017-2018)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Dept CT, College of Educ. (2010-2015)
  • Auburn University, Coordinator, Leadership & AGCO (2006-2010)
  • Auburn University, Faculty Fellow Assoc. Director, Biggio Teaching Center (2004-2007)
  • Eli Lilly Inc., Visiting Scientist (1996-1998)
  • Auburn University, Associate Professor (1991-present)
  • Auburn University, Assistant Professor (1983-1990)
  • Michigan State University, Graduate Research Assistant (1980-1983)
  • Michigan State University, Instructor/Graduate Teaching Assistant (1976-1979)
  • Hillsboro, IL High School, Instructor – Ag Education (1975-1976)


  • American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) – Chairs the Public Policy Committee
  • North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Executive Team –Chair of the Experiential Learning Committee
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, The Honor Society of Agriculture
  • Alpha Zeta, Agricultural Honor Fraternity
  • Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society
  • Alabama Academy of Science (AAS)
  • Beauregard Volunteer Fire and First Responders – Vice President Board of Directors
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)
  • Alabama Cattlemen’s Association – Past Regional Vice President
  • Lee County Cattlemen’s Association – Past President and Board Member


  • Project Director of the USDA NIFA National Needs Fellowship grant program ‘Sustainable Beef Systems’.
  • Honorary State FFA Degree Alabama
  • Two-time winner of the Dean’s Teaching Award
  • SGA Outstanding Faculty Award
  • Auburn University Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach (2018)
  • COA Project Team Award (2017)
  • Alumni Teaching Award nominee (2014)
  • Who’s Who in Collegiate Faculty (2010)
  • Alumni Teaching Award nominee (2009)
  • USDA National Educator nominee (2009)
  • SGA Outstanding Faculty Award (2007, 2008)
  • Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2004, 1994)
  • US Army LDAC Educator’s Program Award (July, 2006)
  • Who’s Who Outstanding Teacher Award (2005)
  • Strathmore Who’s Who in Professionals (2005)
  • Cooperative Extension System Service Award (2004)
  • Professional Improvement Leave (1996)
  • Selected as Faculty Fellow Associate director for Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (2004-2006)
  • Participant/graduate in the Instructional Media Group – Summer Academy (2002)
  • Selected for Class IV – Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) and the Academic Programs Committee on Organization and Policy (ACOP) leadership development program.
  • Teacher of the Year – College of Ag


Dr. Mulvaney’s historical research interests have related to the departmental mission in both regulatory biology and muscle foods. The muscular phenotype of animals and even their susceptibility to disease postnatally, is governed by multiple factors including parental genes and the intrauterine environment during embryonic development, as the latter impacts both fetal programming / epigenetic state and genomic imprinting for subsequent postnatal growth. He has conducted research in discovery of nutritional, pharmacological and endocrinological strategies for altering molecular mechanisms of embryonic development of muscle tissue with intention of improving the efficiency of postnatal growth of offspring and ultimate profitability for producers.

Current research focuses on perception analysis and persuasion science in order to discover and curate ag issue modalities for creation of an evidence-based communication and leadership ecosystems which bolster the social licensure of animal agriculture. Dr. Mulvaney’s work to achieve science and ag literacy is important to the protection of industry from misinformation and to help non-ag audiences better understand animal agriculture. Developing and improving science literacy enables citizens to ask questions about information we all encounter in the infosphere in daily life and helps one utilize acquired knowledge and discernment to verify the truth about the world around us. Science and Ag-STEM communication empowers research and innovation systems needed to address global challenges of the day and in the future (i.e., water, land loss from urbanization, climate, and sustainability). Dr. Mulvaney’s current research indicates that communicating with effective messaging modalities about topics of science within animal agriculture can improve pre-conceived perceptions about both science and agriculture among non-ag constituents. This research is needed to assist science and ag communicators to determine best-fit, effective approaches to communicating science and ag topics that are well-aligned for non-ag audiences and can achieve communication goals of advancing science and agricultural literacy.

Our research focuses on experiments which assess the impact of uniquely designed messages and modality for communicating ag topics and/or science on audiences’ perception, understanding, or application of science concepts. Using principles in science communication within the quantitative and qualitative research provides insight into how and where the Ag industry could design meaningful messaging for improved perceptions. His service on ASAS Public Policy Committee converges with this research as he co-chaired recent symposium on how to inform policymakers on infrastructure needs within land grant institutions and chaired another resent symposium on research needed to meet Grand Research Challenges for the future of animal science which included his own review presentation on career and workforce readiness of Animal Science graduates.


Historically, Dr. Mulvaney has advised and mentored approximately 35-50 students annually, served as advisor for several campus ag clubs including a newly emergent ag literacy club. He has developed and facilitated numerous leadership programs including a Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program, AgSTEM Ag Issues Café, AU Food for Thought series, College of Agriculture PRAXIS – Leadership in Motion Program, USDA-CSREES funded programs in leadership development and multicultural programming, the Agriculture Leadership Studies minor and the AU LEAD undergraduate minor, Faculty/Staff Leadership Development programming, service as Associate Director of the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and service of the AU Senate as Chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee. He serves on the advisory boards for Interdisciplinary Studies, Honors College Advisory Council and the Office of Outreach Council.



  • ANSC 2010 Animals and Society
  • ANSC 3760 Value Based Marketing of Livestock
  • ANSC 4000 Modern Livestock Systems
  • ANSC 4800 Issues in Animal Agriculture
  • ANSC 4810 — Professional Discourse in Ag
  • ANSC 7010 Advanced Beef Systems
  • ANSC 7970 Elevating Beef Sustainability
  • ANSC 7990 Research


  • Locke, S.L. ‡, K.A. Hiltbrand‡, K. E. R. Corbitt‡, D.H. Richburg‡, D. Shannon‡, S. P. Rodning‡, and J. T. Sawyer‡, D. R. Mulvaney. 2023. Instagram as a Tool of Diffusion for the Livestock Industry  J. Applied Comm. 107: Iss. 3.
  • Don Mulvaney, Sara Cloft, Michelle Santiago, Chantel Simpson, Chyi-Lyi Liang, Jeremy Cowan, Shea Porr. 2023. Insights on using Student Farms and Facilities for experiential learning from the NACTA 2022 Experiential Learning Workshop.  NACTA Journal67(TT).
  • Sara Cloft, Michelle Santiago, Chantel Simpson, Jeremy Cowan, Shea Porr, Chyi-Lyi Liang, Don Mulvaney. 2023. NACTA 2022 Experiential Learning Workshop Activity Virtual Pivot: Lessons Learned. NACTA Journal, 67(TT).
  • Samantha P. Bennett, David Martin, Jason T. Sawyer, and Don R. Mulvaney & Soren P. Rodning. 2023. Adoption of Podcasting as a Tool for Extension Educators.  J. of Extension (in press)
  • Madison Coursen, Katie Corbitt, Samantha Bennett, David Martin, Jason T Sawyer, Donald Mulvaney. 2023. Measuring Agricultural Means of Influence on Young Adults Via Instagram in the United States. J.  Animal Science 101 (suppl.3) Page 147,
  • Karen A Hiltbrand, Katie Corbitt, Madison Coursen, David Martin, Kimberly Mullenix, Derek Ross, Ed Youngblood, Brandon B Smith, Donald Mulvaney. 2023. Food for thought: How influenceable is the next generation. J. Animal Science 101, Suppl.3) Page 148,
  • Katie Corbitt, Samantha Bennett, David Martin, Jason T Sawyer, Soren P Rodning, Donald Mulvaney. 2023. Podcasting as an Extension Tool: Limitations and Opportunities. J. Animal Science 101, Suppl.3, Page147,
  • Katie Corbitt, Savannah Locke, Karen A Hiltbrand, David Shannon, Soren P Rodning, Jason T Sawyer, Donald Mulvaney, Darcey Richburg. 2023. Measuring the Effectiveness of Both Cognitive and Emotional Forms of Instructional Videos Related to the Beef Industry. J. Animal Science, 101, Suppl.3, Page 151.
  • Katie Corbitt, Karen A Hiltbrand, Madison Coursen, Soren P Rodning, Brandon B Smith, Donald Mulvaney. 2023. Common Knowledge Or Common sense? Identifying Systematic Misconceptions of Animal Agriculture and Food Familiarity in Higher Education Individuals. J. Animal Science, 101, Suppl. 3, Page 321.,
  • Donald Mulvaney, Paul Dyce, Kimberly Mullenix, Leanne Dillard, Wellison Diniz, Terry D Brandebourg, Russell Muntifering, Werner Bergen, Soren Rodning, Lawrence Hamberlin. 2023. Transformative Animal Science Fellows Program for a Sustainable, Efficient, Profitable Beef Production Future. J. Animal Science, 101, Suppl. 3, Page 322,