Dr. Joseph Messina is a professor of geography and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama. His research focuses primarily on the interactions of people and their environments, infectious disease, and agriculture. Messina has received research honors from NASA through the New Investigator Program and the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Program, and has served on national review panels for several prestigious organizations, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health. Since his appointment as Dean of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2019, he has implemented a variety of new ideas and programs, such as an academy to bolster community-engaged research among faculty, novel programming promoting diversity and inclusion, and a record-breaking campus fundraiser for United Way of West Alabama. Prior to his tenure at UA, Messina served in a variety of roles at Michigan State University, including associate dean for graduate studies, research, and faculty affairs for the College of Social Sciences, and Assistant Vice President of Research and Innovation for the university. He also directed the university’s Center for Global Change and Earth Observation. He earned his Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a veteran of the U.S. Army.