AUBURN, Ala. —Auburn University horticulture professor Joe Eakes has been named interim head of the Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture Dean Bill Batchelor has announced.
Eakes assumed the role Sept. 5 and will serve in the position until a new department head is selected.
A Birmingham native, Eakes received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in horticulture from Auburn in 1981 and 1984, respectively, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in 1989. That same year, he joined the horticulture faculty at Auburn in 1989 as assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and, in 2000, was awarded full-professor status. He has served as the Jimmy and Chris Pursell Endowed Professor of Horticulture since 2010.
Filling a temporary leadership position in the department is not a new experience for Eakes. In 2007, when then–department head Dave Williams was selected as interim associate dean for instruction for the College of Agriculture, Eakes was named acting department head and held that post for two years.
Eakes is the longtime faculty adviser for the Auburn student chapter of the Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET, and in 2013 was named the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation Outstanding Educator of the Year. He has received numerous other awards for excellence in teaching and advising through the years. .
Eakes fills the role most recently held by horticulture professor Jeff Sibley, who has returned full time to his faculty position in the department.