Building on her long partnership with apparel faculty and research, economics professor Vicki McCracken is the new chair of the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University.
McCracken, who replaces retired chair Joan Ellis, took on the four-year appointment in May.
“I am very impressed by our AMDT faculty and students,” McCracken said. “We’re growing in research dollars and impact, and in our graduate and interdisciplinary programs. We also have a strong undergraduate program. This is an exciting group of people to be around.
“A big part of apparel merchandising is the market,” added McCracken, who teamed with Ellis on a 2013 study of consumer willingness to pay more for organic cotton textiles. “Understanding trade and globalization, and being able to predict what’s going to happen, is vital for our apparel merchandising students.”
McCracken has held multiple leadership roles in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), preparing her for department leadership, one of the few roles she’s not taken on in her 33 years at WSU.
With the college’s academic programs office, McCracken helped hire AMDT faculty members and prepare the department’s annual budget. At the Agricultural Research Center, she helped bring in research funding, connect with stakeholders and deliver results back to the industry. At the School of Economic Sciences, she emulated Ellis’ efforts to connect with industry and alumni. She plans to follow in Ellis’ footsteps in developing those relationships.
“Those connections are a strength for the department,” she said.
“I’m an academic at heart,” added McCracken, who will continue her undergraduate teaching and research role in economic sciences. “I love teaching, enjoy being involved in student success, and love to be around students.”
McCracken is a fellow of the Western Agricultural Economics Association, recipient of the WSU Sahlin Leadership Award, and has been recognized by her alma mater, Purdue University, on multiple occasions, including the Distinguished Woman Scholar honor, Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, and the Agricultural Economics APEX Award.