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New chair of UK Plant and Soil Sciences named

Will become chair on Jan. 1
17-10-03 R McCulley - Photo
Rebecca McCulley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 3, 2017) — A proven leader and researcher was recently named the chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Rebecca McCulley becomes chair Jan. 1.

“We are pleased to have Dr. McCulley at the helm of this distinguished department,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Her vision for continuing the tradition of excellence and inclusiveness is compelling, and we look forward to success.”

As director of UK’s Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, McCulley has led campus-wide efforts to advance sustainability and environmental-related education, outreach and research since 2013. Under her guidance, the center helped initiate the Sustainability Challenge Grant Program. The program encourages UK faculty, staff and students to develop creative solutions to sustainability challenges on UK’s campus and beyond. As director, McCulley led the formation of five environment and sustainability focused working groups, helped establish a rain garden and provided students with meaningful educational opportunities through sustainability focused internships.

Since coming to UK in 2006, McCulley has led a research program focused on grassland agroecology in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Her research specifically explores the relationship between grasses and their fungal endophytes. She also studies how grasslands respond to global change factors.

As a professor, McCulley has taught numerous courses and mentored many students. She has been the primary advisor to nine graduate students.

Originally from Houston, McCulley received her bachelor’s degree from Rice University, her master’s degree from Texas A&M University and her doctoral degree from Colorado State University.

“I appreciate the support of my colleagues, and look forward to interacting with faculty, staff and students in Plant and Soil Sciences, CAFE administration, and the larger CAFE community in this new role,” she said.

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