Keith L. Belli, the head of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, has been named dean of Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS). He will assume his new role Sept. 1, succeeding George R. Askew Jr., who will continue to serve as vice president of Clemson Public Service and Agriculture (PSA).
Under CAFLS’ new administrative structure, Belli will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer and associate vice president for PSA, and will collaborate with Askew to advance the interests of both the college and PSA.
“Dr. Belli will be an excellent addition to the university based on his leadership experience at other land-grant institutions and his record of accomplishments as a faculty member,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “I believe that he will do a wonderful job leading the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences as well as serving the people of South Carolina through our public service activities.”
Belli (bell′-eye) will play a critical role in implementing Clemson’s land-grant mission by working with the college’s faculty and staff to continue building upon its vision of creating future leaders who will feed a growing population, develop renewable sources of energy, ensure a safe substantially packaged food supply and maintain a healthy environment.
As dean, Belli will report directly to Robert Jones, Clemson’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.
“Throughout his career, Keith has been recognized by his students and colleagues for excellence in teaching and leadership,” said Jones. “We are looking forward to him bringing this expertise to Clemson while he works to enhance the national reputation of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences through growth in scholarship, research and impact.”
During his tenure at the University of Tennessee, the Society of American Foresters accredited three forestry program concentrations under its forestry standard. The society also accredited a concentration in the wildlife and fisheries program under its new Natural Resource and Ecosystem Management standard, making it the only wildlife program in the nation with an accredited concentration.
The department also reached 10-year enrollment highs and increased the number of tenure-track faculty positions. In addition to his administrative duties, Belli also is a forestry professor.
“The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences forms the core of one of the nation’s premier land-grant universities and serves the largest industry — agribusiness — in South Carolina,” said Belli. “I am very honored and excited to become a part of the Clemson family.”
Prior to joining the University of Tennessee in 2007, Belli worked at Mississippi State University for 18 years, transitioning from professor to the associate dean of the College of Forest Resources, associate director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and interim head of the forest products department.
Belli currently is president of the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs and is a member of the Tennessee Forestry Association and the Society of American Foresters. He has been heavily involved with NAUFRP, including serving in several other leadership positions.
Belli holds a Bachelor of Science in forest science from Pennsylvania State University, Master of Science in silviculture from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in forest biometrics from the University of Minnesota, all three land-grant institutions.