Dr. Scott McKay has been named dean of the College of Science and Technology at Southern Arkansas University.
McKay came to SAU from the University of Central Missouri where he served as chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Physics. He was also the founder and director of UCMO’s Center for Alternative Fuels and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), a university program that supported research and development for energy ideas.
As dean, McKay hopes to bring some ideas from CAFES to SAU’s Natural Resource Research Center. While researching south Arkansas lignite will continue to be a priority, he hopes to develop partnerships with local oil, timber, and natural gas companies for research and development. By integrating with other departments within the College of Science and Technology and the College of Business, he says the NRRC can become a small business development engine.
“The NRRC will grow quite a bit as an analytical research lab for not only quality control, but also for research and development,” he said. “For a small company, providing that service is usually what gets them to reach out.”
Recent campus improvements helped lure McKay to SAU. Much of the College of Science and Technology is housed in new or renovated space. The University Science Center, which opened in fall 2010, houses the departments of biology, chemistry, and physics with 60,000 square feet, the Department of Nursing is housed in Wharton Nursing Building which nearly doubled in size after a 2009 expansion, and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences is housed in Wilson Hall which underwent renovation in 2010. The University will soon break ground on a new Center for Agricultural Studies to house the Department of Agriculture.
“The reason I had so much interest in this is because the University has such a great amount of potential,” he said. “Unless you go around the country and look, you don’t realize how fortunate we are to have these new facilities.”
McKay is a fourth-generation chemist. His grandfather and great-grandfather developed the two-coat paint system, and his mother was a water chemist for the University of Florida. He began his work at SAU on July 1, succeeding Dr. Joe Winstead who retired.