Prof. Daniel J. Decker ’74, natural resources, was appointed to lead Cornell’s newly-formed Office of Land-Grant Affairs (OLGA) at the New York State Agricultural Society’s annual meeting in Syracuse, Jan. 6. The office, a part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will continue Cornell’s effort to further organize and fulfill its obligations as a land-grant institution.
“In his new role as director of OLGA, Dan will provide oversight, coordination, coaching, assistance and resources for the college’s portfolio of engagement activities with selected stakeholder organizations,” said Susan A. Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the agriculture school, according to an article published in The Cornell Chronicle on Jan. 23.
As a natural resources professor, Decker has specialized in the integration of human thought and natural theory with wildlife policy and management. At the time of his appointment, he was researching stakeholder engagement in communal wildlife management, along with humans’ impact on natural environments. These topics coincide with his new position, which will address modern concerns regarding the effects of new technology on the ever-shrinking wilderness.
“Food and agriculture remain major global issues of importance to CALS, but today’s land-grant mission in the college has broadened in response to society’s concerns and emerging technologies,” said Decker, according to The Chronicle’s article.
He continued, “Every day, faculty, researchers and extension educators at CALS apply their talents and energies to improving people’s lives and responding to society’s changing needs. Our goal as a college is to help our faculty and staff be effective leaders, active collaborators and valued partners in a spectrum of efforts to address critical needs of society.”
As part of his new position, Decker will both choose representatives for Cornell and act as one himself for various boards across the state that shape and affect public policy. He will also work with the directors of both the agriculture college’s experimental stations and Cornell Cooperative Extension to focus on current and potential benefits the college can provide for the state of New York and its citizens.
“We are very proud of CALS’s 100-plus years of service to Cornell’s land-grant mission and look forward to continuing that tradition,” he said, according to The Chronicle.
Decker taught at Cornell for 20 years after receiving his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University. He joined the Department of Natural Resources in 1976 as a research support specialist, then slowly moved up the ranks until he was named assistant professor in 1988. He was promoted to full professor in 1998 after serving as chair of natural resources from 1993 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001 he served as associate director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES). Since then, he has served as associate dean of the agriculture college and full director of CUAES.