Gilbert to serve as interim during dean of engineering search

January 31, 2013

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State University’s provost and executive vice president will serve as interim leader of the Bagley College of Engineering during a national search for its next dean.

Jerome A. Gilbert will assume the responsibilities of interim dean in late February. He will serve in this position as the university conducts a nationwide search to fill the position being vacated by Sarah Rajala, who was recently named dean of the college of engineering at Iowa State University.

Gilbert said the university will move quickly to complete the search for the next dean and that he will work closely with college leaders to ensure a smooth transition period.

“I am confident that the stellar reputation of the Bagley College of Engineering will attract a large number of highly qualified candidates and that we can move quickly in identifying an outstanding leader for the college,” Gilbert said.

Don Zant, Mississippi State’s vice president for budget and planning, is leading a 16-member university search committee that is working with a professional search firm to identify and recruit applicants for the position.

“Don has excellent experience with searches and brings strong institutional commitment to the search process,“ Gilbert said.

A 1977 graduate of Mississippi State in biological engineering, Gilbert returned to Mississippi State in 1988 as an associate professor and was made a full professor five years later. He was named head of the agricultural and biological engineering department in 1996 and served until he was named associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs in 2004. He has been provost and executive vice president since 2010.

The Bagley College of Engineering is Mississippi State’s third largest college with more than 3,000 students enrolled as of November 2012. It offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and 17 graduate degree programs through its eight departments.

For more information about the Bagley College of Engineering visit