A longtime Mississippi State faculty member and administrator is the new dean of the university's College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Loren W. "Wes" Burger, a W.L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology in MSU's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is the permanent dean and director, after serving in these roles on an interim basis since July 2020. The university conducted a nationwide search, chaired by College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Kent Hoblet.
"With nearly 30 years of research, teaching and outreach at Mississippi State, Dr. Burger's leadership at all levels has served this university, his students, and many other stakeholders extremely well," said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw. "We are fortunate to have Dr. Burger in this role because of his leadership, expertise and—most importantly—his commitment to undergraduate and graduate students."
"Dr. Burger has an outstanding reputation as a highly productive research administrator and educator," said MSU Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Keith Coble. "He has developed programs of national significance in agriculture and natural resources, and we look forward to his ongoing leadership in the role of dean and director."
Since joining the MSU faculty in 1993, Burger has earned university, national and international accolades. His research has focused on the ecology and management of upland birds in managed landscapes, as well as other topics in avian ecology. He has secured and managed over 130 grants totaling more than $22.1 million in extramural funding from a myriad of private, state and federal agencies. He is passionate about the forestry and wildlife resources in the state of Mississippi and wants to see the university serve those industries.
A John Grisham Master Teacher who held the Dale H. Arner Professorship of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Burger is a 2016 recipient of the Ralph E. Powe Excellence in Research Award. He was a 2017 selection for a National Quail Symposium Award of Excellence, and he also has received two CFR Outstanding Research Awards. Additionally, he is a two-time recipient of the CFR Outstanding Teaching Award and has received major professional commendations from the Mississippi Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Southeast Quail Study Group and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation.
Burger is a Fellow of The Wildlife Society and Food Systems Leadership Institute. He was a 2017 Fellow of the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program.
Burger earned his master's and doctoral degrees in wildlife biology from the University of Missouri. He has bachelor's degrees in both mathematics and biology from Murray State University.