Dr. Aslihan Spaulding, professor of agribusiness and food industry management, joined the Department of Economics as the interim chairperson on July 1, 2022.

Spaulding received a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, a master’s in economics, and a master’s in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor’s in economics from Bogazici University in Turkey. She joined Illinois State University in 2003 and has served many roles in the Department of Agriculture, including as the graduate program coordinator and the study abroad coordinator. Most recently, she was elected to serve on the board of directors of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

In 2019, Spaulding received the Living Our Values Award for her extraordinary work that exemplifies Illinois State’s core values of learning and scholarship, diversity and inclusion, respect, collaboration, individualized attention, civic engagement, and integrity. Her passion for student success has exposed students to many career opportunities in the food and agribusiness industry. In addition, her work has elevated ISU’s chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) onto the national stage. The student organization won the Outstanding Student Chapter award six times under her guidance.

Spaulding has a strong research portfolio that includes numerous refereed publications with students. Her research interests include survey methodology, farmer and consumer behavior, and strategic agribusiness sales management. In 2021, her expertise in survey methodology contributed to a national team that received a five-year, $10 million USDA grant for a project titled “DiverseCornBelt: Resilient Intensification through Diversity in Midwestern Agriculture.” She is also working on a multi-institutional project to understand the challenges and opportunities farmers face in Illinois, funded by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and a multi-national project, AGRICOMPET, to identify ways of improving smallholder competitiveness and strengthening their position in the value chain in Mediterranean countries, funded by the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area of European Union.

Spaulding has already immersed herself into the new position by meeting with students and their families and the faculty and staff within the department and College of Art and Sciences. She hopes to expand her commitments to the core values from teaching, research, and services into her new leadership role. Student, faculty, and staff success and recruiting a more diverse body of students and faculty are among the top priorities as she looks forward to working with her colleagues in the Department of Economics and the College of Arts and Sciences.