Two faculty members in the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences have been named to recently established positions as assistant directors of the unit, effective March 1.
Cova Arias, professor of aquatic microbiology, has assumed duties as assistant director of the school’s instruction, extension and outreach programs, while professor Dennis DeVries, whose expertise is in aquatic ecology and fisheries resource management, is serving as assistant director of research programs.
The two were selected for the three-year, part-time appointments following an internal search and will maintain their research and teaching programs in addition to their new responsibilities. Arias and DeVries will report to the director of the school, a position that John Jensen, professor emeritus in Auburn’s fisheries and aquaculture program, currently holds as interim.
Arias, a native of Spain, was awarded the Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Valencia and joined the Auburn faculty in 2002. In addition to her teaching and advising roles and a strong research program focused on diseases of aquatic animals and food safety in oysters, Arias has served as chair of the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences’ curriculum committee for five-plus years and also chaired the college-wide committee for three years. Her new responsibilities include increasing student enrollment and ensuring that academic courses are relevant to the future needs of students and industry and increasing student enrollment.
DeVries holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and is a 25-year veteran of the Auburn SFAAS faculty. In his research program, he works to address applied problems in fisheries management and resource conservation using concepts from the basic field of ecology. Through the years, he has been the lead investigator or co-investigator on research contracts and grants totaling more than $6.5 million. As assistant director for research, he is charged with promoting diverse research programs and identifying new sources of extramural funding for research.
In 2013, the Auburn University Board of Trustees elevated the College of Agriculture’s Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures to a school and approved its new name as the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. Jensen has served as interim director since that time. A permanent director will be named later this year.