Lincoln, Neb. — After serving as department head of Biological Systems Engineering for six years, David Jones is preparing to return to a faculty role within the department.
Jones was named interim department head of BSE in June 2017. Before that, he served as an associate dean for the College of Engineering for six years. He earned his M.S. and B.S. in Agricultural Engineering degrees from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Oklahoma State University.
What has kept Jones fixated on the discipline of BSE all these years? “It’s where all the action is,” he said. “It’s where the science and the application of that science comes together. It’s professionally and academically an exciting place to be.”
Some of his areas of academic interest include bioenergy/fuels, fuzzy set theory and soft computing techniques, and mathematical modeling of physical and biological systems. Before stepping into the administrative side of higher education, Jones partnered with dozens of researchers in his decades-long career.
The BSE collaborations alone — which range from research papers about livestock heat stress to skin permeability models — provide a glimpse of the vastly ranging disciplines within the department. Research topics in BSE encompass:
- Digital Agriculture
- Plant nutrient placement and management
- Irrigation engineering and management
- Water resources engineering and management
- Automation, autonomous, and assistive technologies in agriculture
- Engineered systems for animal management
- Plant phenotyping
- Food and bioprocess engineering
- Soil health
- Animal waste management
During his tenure, Jones has been privileged to watch faculty and staff members flourish in their roles. Witnessing this as an administrator is one of the successes he is most proud of, he said. There has also been considerable research capacity expansion within the last decade.
“The research expenditures and awards received are at record highs,” he said. “Disciplinarily, I don’t think our faculty has ever been this diverse.”
Jones looks forward to seeing continual departmental progress from a faculty member perspective.
“We’ve been able to work toward common goals, even though we have a lot of different perspectives. ”
Succeeding Jones as department head will be Mark Stone, who began his new role on July 1, 2023.