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Kistler Selected as Dean of ABAC School of Agriculture and Natural Resources

TIFTON—Dr. Mark J. Kistler is the new Dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. ABAC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jerry Baker said that Kistler will begin his duties March 1.

“ABAC and the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources are both in a tremendous growth phase right now, “Kistler said. “I am excited to be a part of that growth so that I can help in the shaping and molding of the College and the School for the future.”

Kistler has been a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University since 2006. He was also a faculty member at the University of Florida from 2004-06 and at Texas Tech University from 2002-04.

At North Carolina State, Kistler is an associate professor who serves as the Undergraduate Coordinator for the bachelor’s degree in extension education and as the Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences.

Prior to beginning his academic career, Kistler worked as an Extension Agent and as a County Extension Director with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. He also has state-level Extension experience in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina where he specialized in program development and evaluation and staff development.

“ABAC is just so student focused,” Kistler said. “I think that kind of reputation is what attracted me to the position. Having grown up in Florida, I have been aware of ABAC for a long time.”

A native of Winter Haven, Fla., Kistler received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in animal science from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in agricultural education from Texas A&M University. He and his wife, Danielle, plan to move to Tifton in coming days.

“The first thing I want to do is to get to know the College and the School better,” Kistler said. “It will take me a little while to get the lay of the land but together with all the faculty, staff, and students, we will build a vision of where we want to go.

“Coming to a smaller school like ABAC will get me back to why I got into higher education in the first place. It’s so refreshing to see a place where the focus is on undergraduate education and helping students develop their careers.”

Kistler believes the opportunities are limitless for those ABAC graduates who seek jobs in the agriculture sector.

“Not just in Georgia but across the nation,” Kistler said. “A recent study showed there are an estimated 58,000 available jobs in agriculture and only 35,000 graduates to fill these roles. There are jobs for ABAC graduates. Agriculture is one of the strongest occupations out there.”

Baker was the Dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources before he became Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at ABAC on July 1, 2017. Dr. Darby Sewell has been serving as Acting Dean since that time along with her duties as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.

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