CAHNRS administration welcomes new leaders into new roles

In an evolution of leadership that helps Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) pursue its mission of research, service, and education, Scot Hulbert will become the college’s senior associate dean, while Leslie Edgar will replace Hulbert as associate dean for research in 2024.

“I’ve worked closely with Scot since I started as dean, and I know I can lean on him to take on important projects,” said Wendy Powers, Cashup Davis Family Endowed Dean of CAHNRS. “I also have every confidence that Leslie will lead our faculty’s research efforts into a new era of success as we procure grants and produce science that results in a more resilient Washington.”

Scot Hulbert

Hulbert, a Regents Professor in WSU’s Department of Plant Pathology, has been the associate dean for research at first interim, then permanently, since 2018. Guiding the college’s research mission, he helps oversee work in discovery that aids Washington agriculture, community health, and state resilience, currently supported by $101 million in extramural funding in 2023.

As new senior associate dean, Hulbert will work on projects that support the priorities of Dean Powers and the three other associate deans. He’ll be tasked with producing a new strategic plan, a project that CAHNRS needs and leaders have been looking forward to working on.

“It’s about not missing any opportunities to help our faculty and students succeed,” Hulbert said of his new role. “Spreading the workload out by adding a new associate dean will allow more time for everyone to investigate new opportunities that will help the entire college.”

In the research realm, Hulbert will work with Edgar to ensure a smooth transition when she starts her new role leading CAHNRS research on Jan. 2, 2024.

Edgar will join WSU from New Mexico State University, where she is currently an associate dean of research and director of their agricultural research station. She was previously a department head at the University of Georgia and a professor and assistant dean at the University of Arkansas.

Formal portrait photo of Leslie Edgar
Leslie Edgar
Courtesy New Mexico State University, photo by Josh Bachman

“I was raised in production agriculture, then educated and spent my career working at land-grant universities,” said Edgar, who grew up on a family farm outside Kuna, Idaho. “I’m excited to come to WSU and work in a state that’s such an agricultural powerhouse. I look forward to partnering with producers and other stakeholders to leverage the science that CAHNRS conducts to help feed people around the world.”

Edgar’s academic and research background is in agricultural communication and leadership, allowing her to understand all facets of CAHNRS.

“As a social science researcher, I have worked with faculty across agricultural, human, and environmental sciences to leverage their successes,” Edgar said. “Research programs are strongest when everyone is collectively working together. Land-grant universities must meet rural development concerns and contribute to human health. We need to include all aspects of research and support the entire faculty, from soil scientists to textile and clothing experts.”

Edgar’s initial goals include studying the entire CAHNRS research portfolio and engaging with industry and growers. She’ll then help craft, modify, and enhance the overall vision for the science produced in CAHNRS.

“We need to serve the producers in Washington and make sure they have access to the cutting-edge science that will allow them to be as productive as possible,” Edgar said. “I’m excited to work directly under Dean Powers and help move her vision forward while supporting the many talented scientists of CAHNRS.”