JONESBORO – Stephen J. Mullin is joining the Arkansas State University faculty as the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, Dean of Science and Mathematics Lynn Boyd announced this week.
Currently the chair of the department of biology at Stephen F. Austin University (SFA) in Texas, Mullin begins with A-State in his new position July 1, pending standard Board of Trustee approvals.
“We are very excited about Dr. Mullin’s arrival, and I am confident that his leadership will help the department continue to provide high quality educational experiences for our students and achieve even greater success in research,” Boyd said. “Not only is Biological Sciences one of our largest departments on campus with 27 faculty and around 600 undergraduate majors, it is also a critical part of the pre-professional programs and vital to training students for our medical and research fields.”
Receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of California in 1989, Mullin earned his master’s at the University of South Florida before completing his Ph.D. at the University of Memphis. Since 2015, he has served as a professor and the chair of the department of biology at SFA. He spent the first year of his academic career at the University of Central Arkansas before moving to Eastern Illinois University in 1999, during which time he served for one year as the interim associate chair of biological sciences.
Mullin’s research expertise is in areas of behavioral and community ecology, with particular interest in predator-prey relationships that focus on either reptile or amphibian species, especially snakes. He also serves on the Executive Council of the Herpetologists’ League, the oldest professional scientific society in North America that focuses exclusively on the biology of amphibians and reptiles.
“His expertise will both complement and expand on our research capabilities in the areas of wildlife and behavioral ecology studies,” Boyd added.
Along with Mullin’s hire, Boyd is also completing a cluster hire in the area of disease in nature, a subject that has dominated the global science news this year.
“This is an exciting time for our college and our university,” Boyd said. “Along with the current researchers and our excellent facilities here in the Lab Science buildings and at Arkansas Biosciences Institute, we’re looking forward to what Dr. Mullin’s leadership can do for our department.”
Dr. Mullin has ongoing collaborations with agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to assess changes in demographic patterns of snake populations. His research group has also completed studies that focus on mitigating road-based snake mortality.