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Meet the Dean


George R. Askew, Jr is the dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences as well as the Vice-President for Public Service and Agriculture.

Dr.  Askew’s work as a forestry researcher, faculty member, and university executive has spanned more than 30 years. His career includes a leading role in developing the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, serving as a director in Clemson’s Extension and research programs, developing a long-term plan to improve off-campus graduate education in agriculture and natural resources, participating in the reorganization of Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture goals and commitments, and administering the Clemson University Experiment Station, which is a federal funding portal for agriculture, forestry, and life sciences research.

Dr. Askew earned his Ph.D. in Agronomy in 1981 from Clemson University, where he also matriculated for his B.S. and M.S. degrees. The university recruited him as a forest geneticist and assistant professor stationed at the Belle W. Baruch Forest Science Institute in Georgetown, S.C. In 1985, he was promoted to associate professor and institute director. In 1991, Dr. Askew advanced to professor of forestry and the first director of the newly formed Belle W. Baruch Institute for Coastal Ecology and Forest Science.

Dr. Askew’s commitment to the coastal communities earned him the respect and trust of longtime Georgetown families. His advocacy for coastal ecology research and education led to his being named Executive Director and board member of the Wallace F. Pate Foundation for Environmental Research and Education, an organization that monitors the land use and management of Clemson’s resources at DeBordieu, an historic coastal community. Dr. Askew orchestrated a Memorandum of Understanding among Clemson University, Brookgreen Gardens of Georgetown, the S.C. Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support research and education in the upper coastal region of South Carolina.

In 2002, Dr. Askew was named interim director of the Clemson University Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence, followed a year later to being appointed permanent director. In 2004, serving as Regional Director for a 12-county Extension Service program was added to his responsibilities. During Dr. Askew’s tenure at the Pee Dee REC, he led the plan to reposition the REC to provide expanded research in advanced plant technologies, enabling improved row crop output and new crop development. The results of the initiative were recognized by the university and the S.C. Legislature, which approved a recurring $2 million appropriation to fund 10 faculty positions and 6 technicians at the REC to focus on advanced plant technologies.

Promoted to Interim Associate Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Experiment Station and Extension in 2007, Dr. Askew moved to the main Clemson campus. A year later he was made Associate Director of the Experiment Station and Associate Dean for Agriculture and Natural Resources. In 2009, Dr. Askew was named Chief Operating Officer of the Clemson University Experiment Station and associate dean. In 2011, he was named Associate Vice-President for Public Service and Agriculture and Director of the Experiment Station. In 2014, Dr. Askew was named Vice-President for Public Service and Agriculture by President Jim Clements and also continued to serve as the Experiment Station Director.

In his role as Experiment Station leader and associate dean, Dr. Askew has worked to establish strong working relationships with the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences and each of its 10 departments. The results have been a unified and collaborative system to identify faculty needs and improve graduate programs in line with Public Service and Agriculture goals. Dr. Askew has been critically involved in ongoing budget challenges, balancing revenue needs while ensuring strategic programs are supported.

As Vice-President, he represents the four Public Service units which include the Experiment Station, Extension, Regulatory Services, and Livestock & Poultry Health as well as Clemson’s agriculture and natural resources programs in strategic planning and general university governance.

In June 2014, Dr. Askew was asked to serve as the Interim Dean for the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. As Interim Dean, he is responsible for the administration of 5 departments and the school within the college including teaching, research, and outreach activities.

Dr. Askew continues his appointment as professor. He is author or coauthor of 46 peer-reviewed publications, principal or co-principal investigator on nine grants and featured presenter at eight national or regional scientific meetings. Dr. Askew is a member of Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society, Omega Rho International Honor Society of Operations Research, Biometrics Society, Society of American Foresters, S.C. Forester’s Council, and the S.C. Forestry Association, where he is currently a member of the Board of Directors.