Dr. Jolena Waddell becomes the Associate Dean for the College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences

Bailey Rae Poer, Contributor

Photo courtesy of Tarleton Directory
Dr. Jolena Waddell Tarleton staff photo

With the new school year comes new faces, while she might not be new to Tarleton State University, Dr. Jolena Waddell is the new face behind the Associate Dean position in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Waddell and her husband Bobby Waddell, who is a Development and Business Relations Officer, have been a part of the Tarleton faculty since August of 2014. Dr. Waddell grew up in a family full of farmers and teachers. Going into college, she was undecided on what profession she wanted to pursue.  

“I knew that I wanted to be involved in agriculture and animal science seemed like the fit at the time,” Waddell stated.

That decision came quickly her freshman year after observing her professors and what they did and what their jobs entailed. 

“That’s what sold me, that’s it, that’s how I get to do this ag stuff and how I get to be a teacher and that’s how I make this all work,” Waddell said.

Although purple runs deep in the Waddell family, as Bobby and both of his parents graduated from Tarleton along with Waddell’s parents and brothers, she wanted to branch out away from home and attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, for her undergraduate and then Purdue University for her PhD. 

“I eventually became a Texan it just took me a little while,” Waddell explained.

Before being named as Associate Dean, Waddell was the Associate Professor in Animal Science and Vet Technology. She does still spend 40 percent of her time in the classroom teaching genetics classes. With a passion for science, she always wanted to be a professor and teach.  The administrative role is something that she looks at as giving back.

“It’s really about service to the college and if there are needs that we have, can I help serve those needs and that’s how I view the job,” Waddell states. 

The new role comes with a lot of new responsibilities like academic management and overseeing student leadership programs. 

These leadership programs are something that Waddell is looking forward to seeing through. They are in the process of creating a leadership council for the COAES and hope to see it in action come spring. 

These new responsibilities are something that husband Bobby believes she will be able to effectively handle.

“She is an amazing professional, wife and mother to our two boys. I am continually impressed how well she manages everything,” Bobby states. 

There is currently a record number of students in the COAES this year. Waddell feels that staying close and connected to the students is one of her long-term goals in her new position. 

“People come to Tarleton for specific reasons, because we feel like a family and because of all this tradition and as we grow we don’t want to lose that,” Waddell explains. “We want our students to feel special and important and not just one of a crowd.” 

Although she might have a Texas Tech diploma on the wall, deep down her blood runs purple and husband Bobby is sure she is up to the task of this new position. 

“I know that she is excited to have the opportunity to help develop future Texans,” Bobby said.

For more information on the COAES you can visit here or to get in touch with Waddell you may email [email protected]