Dr. Soji Adelaja is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy at Michigan State University. His faculty appointment is in the department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. Until April of 2011, he served as the Director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University, which he founded in 2006; as Co-Director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded People and Land initiative (PAL); and as the Director of Michigan Higher Education Land Policy Consortium (miHELP) which he founded in 2005. Dr. Adelaja is now spearheading new initiatives in international land use.
Prior to coming to MSU, Dr. Adelaja served as the Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dean of Cook College, Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension at Rutgers University, where he was on the faculty for 18 years. At Rutgers, he also previously served as Department Chair of Agricultural Food and Resource Economics and Dean of Research at Cook College. Dr. Adelaja has a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Mechanization from the Pennsylvania State University, dual Master's degrees in Agricultural Economics and in Economics from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from West Virginia University.
Dr. Adelaja is an academic innovator, eclectic scholar and team-builder whose research and outreach programs span a variety of areas, including the areas of land use, land policy, renewable energy policy, metropolitan growth strategies, place science, prosperity science, New Economy growth modeling, political economy modeling and regional prosperity strategies in the New Economy. His most recent focus in international research is on investigating large international land transactions, the growing global rush to control natural resources by wealthy nations and investors, and the role of energy in economic development. A committed land grant scholar, his work has impacted on public policy in a variety of areas and he advises many leaders at the local, state, national and international levels.
Among the recognition that Dr. Adelaja has received for his work and impact are the MSU’s Distinguished Faculty Award (2011), Journal Article of the Year Award for the Emerald Publishing Group (2011), Journal Article of the Year Award for the Agricultural and Resource Economics Review (2010), Statewide Tribute by Governor Jennifer Granholm and Lieutenant Governor John Cherry of Michigan, for Outstanding contributions to state policies to revitalize the economy and reposition Michigan’s energy future (2010), the NAREA Excellence Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Policy through Economics (2003), Outstanding Alumni Award from Pennsylvania State University (2002), New Jersey Governor’s Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to New Jersey (2002), the Person of the Year Award from the National Prepared Foods Association (1999), State of New Jersey General Assembly’s Citation for Outstanding Scholarship and Exceptional Service (1996), Rutgers Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service (1996), and various excellence awards in research, outreach and teaching. In recognition of his service to Rutgers, he holds special status as the George Hammel Cook Dean Emeritus.
Dr. Adelaja sits on the boards of various organizations and companies, and he has served on numerous commissions, advisory committees and task forces at the local, state, national and international levels. For example, he was appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the Great Lakes Wind Council in 2009, and he also served in an advisory capacity to the Governor in energy policy and economic development. In addition to the Land Policy Institute, he is the founder of Rutgers Food Innovation Center (2001), the Food Policy Institute (1999) and the Rutgers Eco-Policy Center (1994).