The Texas A&M University System has named seven faculty and agency service professionals from Texas A&M AgriLife as Regents Professors and Regents Fellows for 2022-2023.
The Texas A&M University System Regents established the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 and the Regents Fellow Service Awards program in 1998 to recognize faculty and employees who have made extraordinary contributions to their university or agency, as well as to the people of Texas.
A Regents Professor Award recipient is Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research ecohydrologist and Sid Kyle Endowed Professor in Semi-Arid and Arid Land Ecohydrology in the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology, Bryan-College Station. Wilcox’s research and teaching focus is at the interface of ecology and hydrology—an emerging new discipline called ecohydrology. He is particularly interested in understanding how landscape change resulting from climate change, invasive plants and land degradation may be altering the water cycle.
Much of his work has been in semiarid rangelands of the U.S., but he works in other landscapes as well, including wetlands in the Texas Coast and high elevation grasslands in the Andes. He and his students have focused on such issues as how woody plants and their management on rangelands may affect stream flows and groundwater recharge, how invasive shrubs in riparian areas are altering river flows, and the hydrological functioning of coastal wetlands.
He joined what was formerly the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in September 2000. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in range management, with emphases in ecology and soils from Texas Tech University and his doctorate in range management with an emphasis in range hydrology from New Mexico State University.
Regents Fellow Service Award recipients are:
- Michael Brewer, Ph.D., AgriLife Research entomologist in Corpus Christi and professor in the Department of Entomology. His research and education interests bridge integrated pest management, invasive species ecology, and field crops entomology. Brewer works on priority and emerging pest management issues relevant to fiber and grain crops and regional and national goals in insect pest management, crop protection, and agroecosystem stewardship. His mission-oriented focus is on transforming research findings undergirded by population, landscape and invasive species ecology to integrated pest management approaches that improve management of field crop pest and beneficial insects. Brewer’s most recent research projects have been on ecology and management of sugarcane aphid on sorghum, sucking bugs of cotton, and lepidopterans pests of corn. Brewer earned his bachelor’s degree in entomology from the University of California, two master’s degrees in applied statistics and entomology from Louisiana State University and his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Riverside.
- Paul DeLaune, Ph.D., AgriLife Research environmental soil scientist, Vernon, and professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. DeLaune has become a leading expert in cover crop management in semi-arid environments. His research focuses on protecting water resources while maintaining agricultural production goals in semi-arid cropping systems. Research topics include evaluating tillage and water management strategies and crop rotation options in various cropping systems to improve nutrient and water-use efficiencies, carbon and nutrient cycling, crop yields and subsequent soil water storage. Working directly with producers and private and/or government agencies is crucial to identifying applied research goals and transferring results to engaged stakeholders. DeLaune earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Oklahoma State College; and his master’s degree in agronomy and doctorate in soil science from the University of Arkansas.
- Terry Hensley, DVM, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory assistant agency director and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service veterinarian, Bryan-College Station. Hensley’s broad knowledge of veterinary medical topics and extensive experience as a practicing and regulatory veterinarian are valuable resources to TVMDL. His dual role with TVMDL and AgriLife Extension has proven indispensable as he shares insights from the diagnostic laboratory to assist with situations livestock producers face. Hensley earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science, master’s in poultry science and doctorate in veterinary medicine, all from Texas A&M.
- Robert “Skip” Richter, AgriLife Extension Service horticulture agent, Brazos County. Richter has more than 30 years’ experience as a horticulturist, gardening educator, garden writer and avid horticultural photographer. He earned his master’s degree in horticulture from Texas A&M and has managed Master Gardener programs in Montgomery, Travis and Harris counties, where he currently coordinates over 300 volunteers. He helped develop AgriLife Extension’s Don’t Bag It yard waste recycling program, the Composting for Kids educational webpage, and the Grow Green environmental education program. Richter serves as a contributing editor for Texas Gardener magazine and appeared weekly on the Central Texas Gardener television program for over a decade. He is author of the “Texas Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year” book.
- Dana Tarter, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension regional program leader, Vernon. As regional program leader, Tarter provides leadership, support and direction to AgriLife Extension agents in almost 50 counties from the northern Texas border around Wichita Falls to near Austin. She helped develop the Master Wellness Volunteer Program and the Dinner Tonight Program, both of which started at the county level but evolved to become banner programs for the agency. She was Tarrant County’s agent for nutrition and health previously and served as an AgriLife Extension agent in Howard, Wichita, Mitchell and Kaufman counties. Tarter earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health from the University of North Texas, and her doctorate from Texas Woman’s University.
- Billy Whitworth, Texas A&M Forest Service, assistant chief regional fire coordinator, Nacogdoches. Whitworth joined the Texas A&M Forest Service as a seasonal employee in 2001 and served as a staff forester and district forester before being promoted to his current position of assistant chief regional fire coordinator for East Texas in 2013. He manages natural resource and wildland fire programs through the combined efforts of offices in Houston, Livingston, Longview and Mt. Pleasant, providing leadership for the agency’s response to hurricanes, flooding, wildfire and other regional and statewide incidents. He is a certified forester with the Society of American Foresters, a Texas accredited forester with the Texas Forestry Association and a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. He earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management from Stephen F. Austin University.
To date, 291 Texas A&M System faculty members have been recognized with the Regents Professor Award, and 175 agency professionals have received the Regents Fellow Service Award.
A complete list of the 2022-2023 Regents Professors and Regents Fellows can be found at https://today.tamu.edu/2022/11/14/regents/.