June 3, 2009

A familiar face in the University of Kentucky Department of Plant and Soil Sciences recently was appointed the department's chair.

Todd Pfeiffer has been a member of the department's faculty since 1982 as a plant breeding and genetics specialist for soybeans and, most recently, sweet sorghum.  During his UK career, he has developed five varieties of soybeans and the first-ever hybrid of sweet sorghum.

Pfeiffer earned his bachelor's degree from UK and his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

"It is both gratifying and a bit amazing that strong, new leaders so consistently and reliably step forward in our college.  Once again they did so in this case," said Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture.

With agricultural technology and practices constantly evolving, Pfeiffer has many goals to keep the department at the forefront of the industry and strengthen Kentucky farming operations through education.

"I want the department to remain integral in improving crop production in Kentucky so it's more profitable and stays environmentally sustainable," he said.

Over the years, Pfeiffer actively helped students reach their full academic potential. He has been the director of undergraduate studies for the department as well as the coordinator for the World Food Issues track in the UK Honors Program. This year, he received the Gamma Sigma Delta Master Teacher Award for the college.

"In the department, we strive to teach students the science part of plant and soil sciences, so they'll have a strong science background that will help them make decisions throughout their careers," Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer replaces Michael Barrett, who has served as department chair since 1999.  Barrett remains on faculty at UK.

"I also want to publicly thank Mike Barrett for his 10 years of dedication to the department," Smith said. "Mike returns to a faculty research and teaching role, leaving Dr. Pfeiffer to administer a strong department with an exceptional history of achievement and a great future."

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