Thomas L. Payne
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Thomas L. Payne has served as vice chancellor for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources since Jan. 1, 1999. His leadership at MU has contributed to growth in the College's research programs, recruitment of world-class faculty members, and an increase in private funds raised in support of the College. Read full biography
- Building strong ties on campus: In addition to maintaining good relations with campus administration, Dean Payne brought the efforts of MU Extension and the MU Research Centers closer together, leading to the formation of the CAFNR Office of Research and Extension. He also built strong connections with the College of Engineering, leading to the creation of Division of Bioengineering becoming a jointly affiliated unit between the two colleges in 2000. In that same spirit, he worked on strengthening the connection with School of Medicine in regards to the joint affiliation with MU Biochemistry.
- Building strong ties off campus: Upon starting his position, Dean Payne worked on establishing relationships with the leaders and stakeholders of the state's agricultural industries as well as the advisory boards of the Research Centers. He also has used connections out of the state – and beyond – for the benefit of the College.
- A champion of Bond Life Sciences Center: Since his arrival on campus, Dean Payne has been a consummate advocate and evangelist of the Bond Life Sciences Center and its emphasis on interdisciplinary research. He served as the chair of the executive committee for the construction of the building, leading up to its opening in 2004. He also played an active role in seeking out enhancements for the center including the sponsorship of Monsanto Auditorium and the addition of key artwork and external garden areas.
- Fiscal guidance: Dean Payne managed CAFNR's budget and helped navigate it through some of its toughest fiscal times with minimum flexibility through thorough budget analysis and reallocation of funds. At the same time, he did his best to keep faculty from leaving the College, while recruiting key faculty members to campus.
- Academic reputation: Before stepping into the administrative side of academia, Dean Payne was internationally known for his work as an entomologist. His excellent reputation as a scientist led to him being elected a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America and co-editor of the Journal of Insect Behavior.
- An entrepreneurial spirit: Dean Payne has always been open to, and supportive of, ideas that would add value to CAFNR students, faculty and staff and the surrounding community. Under his leadership, the following initiatives began: Tiger Garden (2004), South Farm Showcase (2006), The Gathering Place Bed and Breakfast (2007), MU Grape and Wine Institute (2007) and Float Your Boat for the Food Bank (2011). In addition, he helped oversee the refurbishment of the Agriculture Building's main floor, where most prospective students are first introduced to CAFNR.