NSU tabs Doucet as dean of arts and sciences

Rena Picou Trevathan
July 12, 2011
Jeanne R. Lefort
July 14, 2011

A writer, experienced researcher in genetics and long-time faculty member, Dr. John Doucet was named interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Nicholls State University for the 2011-2012 school year.

The current head of the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the University Honors Program at NSU, Doucet’s appointment is pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. He has been with Nicholls for 12 years.

“I thought this was a good opportunity for me to serve the university in a greater capacity, and I was excited to apply,” Doucet said. “I’m tremendously excited to have received the job.”

Doucet received a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology in the early 1990s from the LSU Medical Center. He became the state’s first certified public health geneticist in 2010 and has secured more than $1 million in research grants for the university.

Doucet contributed more than 150 extramural presentations, letters and workshops and produced more than 50 full-length publications, including stage plays and history books.

He has been a columnist, cartoonist and magazine producer; an educator of English, math and biology; and a musician, a broad base of knowledge that extends to the department as a whole. “I was a roustabout in college,” he said.

“I have a little bit of experience in all of the departments, and if nothing else, an appreciation for the work that all of the faculty does.”

Doucet is best known for his extensive research in the field of genetics. More than 10 years ago, he published a study on Acadian Usher syndrome, which is deafness and blindness. Now, he’s joined some of his fellow academics and is studying the genetics of crawfish.

“Because I’m surrounded by biologists who study other things, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and I started to study the genetics of crawfish, which is remarkably complicated,” Doucet said. “I’ve cloned some interesting genes from crawfish and one day I’ll hope to use the technology I’m developing to make bigger, tastier crawfish, not to mention just a basic understanding of why their genetics are so complicated.”

Dr. Allayne Barrilleaux, vice president for academic affairs at NSU, said Doucet’s varied background was a leading reason as to why he was appointed to the position.

“Dr. Doucet’s education, experience and personal interests are varied and comprehensive in their relation to what the College of Arts and Sciences delivers and represents,” Barrilleaux said. “He will be an exceptional addition to the academic council of Nicholls as he helps us enhance the quality of the arts and sciences programs.”

The position was vacated with the retirement of Dr. Badiollah Asrabadi, a 31-year NSU veteran who stepped down earlier this year.