Interim Co – Provost

Good morning,

As you may have heard, Friday was a day of announcements that have a direct and significant impact on CAHNRS and WSU leadership. I was named interim co-provost for WSU, and I subsequently named Kim Kidwell as the acting dean for CAHNRS.

Rest assured that the CAHNRS leadership team is perfectly well-suited to handle this unusual situation. Dr. Kidwell has my utmost confidence, and she has real-time on-the-job dean experience to provide strong leadership of CAHNRS in my absence. Moreover, she will have the unwavering support of our highly skilled and effective associate deans, Rich Koenig and Jim Moyer. You will recall that this is the same impactful leadership team, with Dr. Kidwell at the helm that led CAHNRS while I was away with a medical issue last winter, and this team functioned spectacularly well. It will be a smooth transition — the college is in excellent hands.

The leadership style will be almost exactly as it was last winter, the one difference being that I will actually be available to answer questions, or provide perspectives/opinions about matters, from the very start – if/when such input is sought by Kim. That said, I want to underscore that Kim will be acting in the capacity of the dean of CAHNRS for all issues of any consequence to the faculty, staff, and students of CAHNRS, and henceforth any matters that are destined for consideration by, or requiring decisions by the CAHNRS dean will now be directed to her. The only “dean responsibilities” that I will retain involve completion of some continuing issues that are in need of closure and that for the sake of efficiency make sense for me to handle, as well as a few auxiliary duties of the dean that are not central to the day-to-day operation of CAHNRS.

Kim has assured me that she intends to continue to implement the “flat model” of leadership that we have been routinely practicing in CAHNRS, whereby the dean and associate deans oversee the college as a collaborative and consensus-seeking executive team in analyzing issues and making decisions. In that model, the dean (Kim) acts in the capacity of “chairperson of the board”, and collaborative support and insights are provided by “board members” Rich and Jim. And of course CAHNRS will still be supported by our magnificent finance, operations, communications, computer, and HR support units.

In fact, the high quality and effectiveness of this CAHNRS leadership team played a significant role in the current temporary change, as Interim President Dan Bernardo wrote in his announcement last week. He praised the team’s ability to manage the college successfully in a stressful time without me.

Please note that these temporary changes are planned to end when a permanent replacement is found for the late WSU President Elson Floyd. While the timeline is uncertain, the current expectation is that the horizon will span 6 – 9 months.

I expect the current forward trajectory that has been established for the college to continue, and we have the leadership stability and experience to keep CAHNRS moving forward.

Please direct any issues that might require the dean’s attention during this interim period to Kim (kidwell@wsu.edu) and to Lisa Johnson (janowski@wsu.edu).

Thank you for your support, and for the dedication, effort, and contributions you make to ensure the future success of CAHNRS, and of WSU.

Ron Mittelhammer
Interim Co-Provost
Regents Professor