Executive Leadership

Dean Wendy Powers standing in wheat field.

Wendy Powers

Cashup Davis Family Endowed Dean

Wendy Powers is the inaugural Cashup Davis Family Endowed Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). Joining CAHNRS on August 15, 2022, Powers embodies the land-grant mission through her collaborative work with agricultural producers and research peers nationwide.

As a scientist, Powers linked research discovery with outreach to the livestock industry, providing knowledge and tools to help producers reduce their environmental impacts while staying competitive and meeting growing consumer demand. She holds a doctorate in animal science and a master’s degree in dairy science from the University of Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University.

Powers began her career as an assistant professor and Extension specialist in animal science at Iowa State University, then moved to Michigan State University, where she served as a full professor in the departments of Animal Science and Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering, Extension specialist, and director of environmental stewardship for animal agriculture in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She was also the first director of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute for Michigan State University Extension.

Powers comes to Washington State University from the University of California, where she had served as associate vice president for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources since 2016. She led academic, research, and outreach programs, overseeing county-based cooperative Extension outreach, 12 statewide programs and institutes, and 9 research and Extension centers across California.

Scot Hulbert.

Scot Hulbert

Senior Associate Dean for Operations

An alumnus who has led and supported research and education at Washington State University for nearly 20 years, Scot Hulbert is the Senior Associate Dean of Operations for CAHNRS, beginning in this role in January 2024.

Hulbert started out life on a farm in Mount Vernon, Wash., where his family grew strawberries, vegetable seed crops, daffodils, peas, and other crops. Through that experience, he was able to meet vegetable breeders and scientists at the nearby Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center (NWREC). This led to a B.S. degree in horticulture from WSU and a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California at Davis.

Hulbert went on to accept a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in biological sciences at Purdue University before joining the faculty of the Department of Plant Pathology at Kansas State University.  At K-State, he studied the arms race between defense genes in plants and the corresponding virulence genes in bacteria and fungi.   

In 2006, Hulbert returned to WSU as the R. James Cook Endowed Chair in Cropping Systems Pathology, leading research in genetic and land management approaches to controlling diseases and maintaining the productivity of farms. He continued this work after becoming chair of the Department of Plant Pathology in 2013.

Hulbert began serving as associate dean for research in CAHNRS, where he led the university’s Agricultural Research Center and supervised scientific efforts college-wide toward a safe and abundant food supply, energy innovation, better health for families and communities, and strong environmental stewardship.

In 2019, Hulbert was named a WSU Regents Professor, the university’s highest faculty rank. He is also a recipient of Fellow Awards from two scientific societies, the American Society for the Advancement of Science and the American Phytopathological Society. These awards recognize his outstanding scientific contributions.

Vicki McCracken.

Vicki McCracken

Associate Dean & Director, Extension

Vicki A. McCracken is a professor in the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University and is the previous chair of the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles. She received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University with dual majors in economics and home economics (human nutrition track), and completed her master’s and doctorate at the rival Purdue University in agricultural economics. She has spent her entire career since 1984 at WSU, serving as a faculty member and in various administrative leadership positions.

She has taught courses in quantitative methods, intermediate micro, and applied marketing and price analysis. Her research and Extension interests are broad-based, ranging from analysis of social and economic issues of importance in agricultural production contexts to alternative agricultural markets and human health to identifying determinants of student academic success. McCracken has a steady stream of external grant funding that has supported her research, resulting in continuous conference presentations and publications.

McCracken has been active in service throughout her career. She has wide-ranging committee service at WSU and for the agricultural economics profession. She has been honored with awards and leadership positions from numerous organizations, including National Research Initiative: Markets and Trade Panel Manager; W.K. Kellogg Foundation Collaborative Efforts—Partnership 2020; ESCOP/ACOP Leadership Program; Outstanding Teaching and Leadership awards at WSU; and Fellow of the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

Leslie Edgar

Associate Dean for Research

Leslie D. Edgar serves as the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) and the Director of the Agricultural Research Center. She holds the rank of Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at WSU. Edgar was raised on a family-owned farm and values production agriculture. She was educated at land-grant universities and believes in the work they do for the communities they serve, and in there national and global reach and impact. Edgar has spent her professional career working at non-profits, for-profits, and in higher education.

As a science and agricultural communicator, Edgar’s research focuses on human capital in agriculture and on communication models for effective communication management strategies. As a former faculty member, Edgar received 10 teaching or advising awards, including the National New Teacher Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and USDA. She has published more than 85 peer-reviewed journal articles, secured millions of dollars in grants and contracts, and has earned 37 research awards and professional/service awards.

Before beginning her position in CAHNRS, Edgar served as the Associate Dean of Research and Experiment Station Director at New Mexico State University and as Professor and Department Head for the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Department at the University of Georgia. Additionally, Edgar served as the Assistant Dean for Student Programs at the University of Arkansas, where she directed the Honors and International programs for the agricultural college.

Edgar provides leadership and administrative oversight for the CAHNRS Office of Research. She directs collaborative interdisciplinary research teams, provides support of faculty development and pursuit of extramural funding, research program planning and direction, strategic planning, fiscal and personnel management, allocation of resources, regulatory compliance, accountability to stakeholders, and advocacy for Washington state agriculture, human, and natural resources. With Edgar’s previous experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and as a science communicator, she sees her leadership role at WSU as leveraging existing resources to build a robust agricultural research system that meets the needs of local, state, national, and global stakeholders through effective resource management and communication.

Nancy Deringer.

Nancy Deringer

Interim Associate Dean of Student Success & Academic Programs

Nancy Deringer is the interim associate dean for Student Success and Academic Programs, an associate professor and principal investigator (PI) for the USDA-NIFA Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP)—Kalispel Tribe; and PI for the USDA-NIFA Children, Youth, Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Dive4TECH—Juntos 4-H program at Washington State University. Deringer was a national USDA-NIFA CYFAR coach for five years and also the statewide evaluator for the University of Idaho’s CYFAR 4-H Afterschool program for four years. Previous to her role at WSU, Deringer was tenured academic faculty at the University of Idaho’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences for ten years, and prior to this, associate director for the Center on Disabilities and Human Development (CDHD) for ten years. The CDHD is a University Center on Excellence for Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Deringer’s focus is reaching and engaging underrepresented youth and families through innovative programming. She has acquired over $14 million in grants and contracts from foundation, state, and federal sources. Deringer’s research area of interest is examining family socialization and financial literacy among youth and young adults, especially those who are first generation or from underrepresented groups.

Luz Maria Gardillo.

Luz María Gordillo

Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusive Excellence

Luz María Gordillo is CAHNRS’ inaugural assistant dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence. She is an associate professor and the program leader in history at Washington State University Vancouver, and the campus director of Faculty Equity and Outreach. She received her undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College in Film and Photography, earned her master’s in media studies at the New School, and completed her doctoral degree in history at Michigan State University. She joined WSU Vancouver in 2005. She has served as program leader in the Departments of Women’s Studies (now WGSS), Critical Culture and Race Studies (CCGRS), and History.

Gordillo’s first book Engendering Transnational Ties: Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration, garnered the ALLA Book Award in 2011. In 2013, she codirected and coproduced the film entitled Antonia: A Chicana Story. In conjunction with the documentary, Gordillo worked on a series of interviews with Chicanx activists, scholars, artists, and art critics for the book Engendered History: The Collected Works of Antonia Castañeda. Her current book manuscript Patients, Philanthropists, and Fieldworkers: The Hidden History of Women and Eugenics examines gender, race, public health, and sexuality, as well as the tenure of the Eugenics Record Office (ERO), 1906–1939. Gordillo’s project brings science and the humanities together at an unexplored crossroad that has the potential to explore thought-provoking connections of a period that is complex, sensitive, and contentious.

Gordillo serves on the editorial board of Women, Gender, and Families of Color and she served as the chair for the Council of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at WSU Vancouver (2016–2020). Her continued contribution and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) was cemented when she accepted the position of campus director for faculty equity and outreach at WSU Vancouver in 2020.

She has received several nominations and awards, including the Woman of Distinction Award, the American Association of University Women Research Award, the American Philosophical Society Library Resident Research Award, and several diversity and equity awards to promote inclusive excellence.