KNOXVILLE – Dr. C.A. Speer, a Montana educator, becomes dean of the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station Sept. 1.
Dr. C.A. Speer
Speer, professor and director of Montana State University-s Center for Bison and Wildlife Health, will be the first person to lead both the teaching and research units of UT’s Institute of Agriculture since 1957. The two units include the college-s 11 departments, 1,180 students, and 11 research farms and forests in Tennessee.
UT President J. Wade Gilley said combining the agricultural college and research units under Speer will help UT achieve its goals to streamline administration and to become a top research university.
“Dr. Speer is an outstanding choice for this position,” Gilley said. “He will help us tremendously in our challenge to be listed among the nation-s top 25 public research institutions.”
Dr. Jack Britt, UT vice president for agriculture, said Speer has an international reputation as a scientist.
“Dr. Speer has provided strong leadership in developing outstanding, innovative research and teaching programs in biotechnology,” Britt said.
Speer said consolidating the two agricultural units will give uniformity to the programs.
-It (consolidation) is a step in the right direction,” Speer said. “I look forward to enhancing the excellent programs that are already in place in the UT Institute of Agriculture.-
Speer developed a bachelor’s degree program in biotechnology at Montana State and has served on Montana-s Science and Technology Advisory Council.
His research specialties include Whirling disease, which is killing off wild trout in the West, and Johne-s disease, a bowel disorder in cattle that impacts Tennessee’s $612 million beef and dairy industries. Cattle farming accounts for 28 percent of the state’s $2.2 billion in farm products sales.
Speer earned the bachelor-s degree in zoology and entomology at Colorado State University and the master’s and Ph.D. in parasitology and microbiology at Utah State University.