New temporary positions for WSU CAHNRS leaders

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University Interim President Dan Bernardo has named Ron Mittelhammer, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, as interim co-provost of the university.

Ron Mittelhammer and Kim Kidwell
Ron Mittelhammer and Kim Kidwell

Mittelhammer, in turn, has named Kimberlee Kidwell, executive associate dean of CAHNRS, as acting dean for the college. Kidwell filled in as leader of CAHNRS last winter when Mittelhammer was out for medical reasons.

“Our leadership team is perfectly well-suited to handle this unusual situation,” Mittelhammer said. “Dr. Kidwell has my utmost confidence and the experience to provide strong leadership of CAHNRS in my absence. And she will have the unwavering support of our highly skilled and effective associate deans, Rich Koenig and Jim Moyer. It will be a smooth transition – the college is in excellent hands.”

In a statement released July 17, Bernardo praised Mittelhammer and CAHNRS for being able to handle this temporary disruption.

“The most difficult challenge we face in trying to move anyone into this role is the ‘domino effect,’” Bernardo wrote. “Anyone prepared to step into the role of provost is already fully employed, and removing them from their current role can create large institutional risks. Dr. Mittelhammer has an excellent cadre of associate deans who have already demonstrated their ability to manage the college in his absence.”

Mittelhammer, who will oversee issues related to faculty affairs and fiscal management for WSU, will serve as interim co-provost with Erica Austin, vice provost of WSU.

The changes in leadership structure will be in place until a permanent replacement is found for the late Elson S. Floyd, WSU’s president who died June 20.

Kidwell said the CAHNRS associate dean team highly values the day-to-day interaction with Mittelhammer, which they will miss, but she is confident that the college will remain on its current success trajectory while he is serving as interim provost.

“The students, staff and faculty in CAHNRS are extraordinary people, and together we will continue to create excellence” she said. “Our leadership team has the vision and experience needed to support a seamless transition, and we will continue to move forward. It will be challenging to manage the activities of the college without him, but we will do our best to ensure the success of CAHNRS. And Ron will be a magnificent interim provost.”