COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Michael P. Masser is the new department head of the wildlife and fisheries sciences department at Texas A&M University at College Station, according to Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences for the Texas A&M University System at College Station.
“It pleases me greatly to be able to make this announcement,” Hussey said. “Dr. Masser is uniquely qualified to lead our diverse and internationally recognized department having first come here as a doctoral candidate 30 years ago and, much more recently, serving as its associate department head and Texas AgriLife Extension Service program leader since 2006. I look forward to working with Dr. Masser in his new and expanded role.”
Masser earned a doctorate degree in wildlife and fisheries from Texas A&M in 1986, a master’s in biology and education from Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, in 1973 and a bachelor’s in geography and zoology from the University of Texas in 1970.
He has served as an AgriLife Extension fisheries specialist at Texas A&M since 1998. From 1989 to 1998, he was an Extension fisheries specialist with the department of fisheries and allied aquacultures at Auburn University, and from 1986-1989 he was the state specialist for aquaculture with the Cooperative Extension Program at Kentucky State University at Frankfort.
“Extension programming has given me the opportunity to work with and understand the links among academic research, education, agriculture, industry and the public,” Masser said. “It’s allowed me to develop a solid capacity to interact with landowners, government agencies and non-government organizations on the scientific issues regarding conservation of our natural resources.”
Masser has served and continues to serve on a number of professional boards and societies. He also works extensively with graduate students, having chaired or co-chaired nine graduate committees at Texas A&M, eight at Auburn University and served on more than 20 other graduate committees.
He said the majority of his students have continued their professional careers within the aquatic sciences. Much of the research stemming from these associations have been published in peer reviewed journals or Extension publications, and presented at national and international scientific conferences.
Masser also has considerable experience with diverse audiences. He started his professional career as a high school teacher in San Antonio where he taught for 11 years at two ethnically diverse schools. In Kentucky, he worked with a program that was a model of diversity that helped minority and under-served small acreage farmers, he said. In Alabama and now at Texas A&M, he continues to work with minority and under-served clientele and with 1890 land-grant programs.
“I am a strong advocate of improving diversity within the department and across the university, as I see it strengthens us academically, societally and in so many other ways,” Masser said.
Masser fills the position previously held by Dr. Thomas Lacher, who is currently a professor within the department and holds on-campus teaching and research faculty appointments.