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West Virginia University invites nominations and applications for an innovative and charismatic leader as we search for the Dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. As a land-grant institution, WVU seeks candidates who have a comprehensive resume of success in academic leadership roles. Successful candidates should demonstrate exceptional skills and experience that will enable them to lead a research and educational enterprise across multiple entities and support the conversion of discoveries and inventions into practical technologies, products and services at the local, national and global level. We are searching for a leader who is committed to advancing diversity and enhancement of the student experience.

As the University embarks upon the process of selecting the next Dean, this site will provide timely updates and relevant information about the process. A selection of trustees, faculty, staff and alumni have been appointed to the Search Committee to help guide the process, and the national firm Greenwood / Asher & Associates, Inc. has been retained as a Deanship Transition partner to assist both the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees moving forward.

WVU is committed to ensuring a highly collaborative process that is informed with input from faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community at large.

If you have questions or comments about the search, please email or

If you have any questions about the search process, contact Gregory Dunaway, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and search committee chair at

Search Progression



  • Search announced
  • Search Committee named and charged
  • Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. (G/A&A) selected to support the Search Committee


  • Search Start-up Meeting - Search Committee and G/A&A meet to discuss search process and profile
  • Feedback incorporated into position description


  • Position advertisement and job description drafted and distributed
  • Requests for nominations and recommendations
  • Nominees and prospects are contacted
  • Applications received and reviewed
  • Prospect Review Meeting held - Search Committee discusses all candidates and selects leading candidates


  • Round-One Interviews - Search Committee interviews leading candidates
  • Reference and background checks
  • Search Committee recommends and selects candidates for additional interviews


  • Campus interviews
  • Selection and signing of contract
  • Transition considerations


  • Announce search completion and introduce hired candidate

Dean, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design

West Virginia University invites nominations and applications for an innovative and charismatic leader as we search for the Dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. As a land-grant institution, WVU seeks candidates who have a comprehensive resume of success in academic leadership roles. Successful candidates should demonstrate exceptional skills and experience that will enable them to lead a research and educational enterprise across multiple entities and support the conversion of discoveries and inventions into practical technologies, products and services at the local, national and global level. We are searching for a leader who is committed to advancing diversity and enhancement of the student experience

The dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of the College and reports to the Provost. The dean will maintain a culture that emphasizes meritocratic openness to talent and ideas from all over the world, vibrant intellectual exchange, and interdisciplinary collaborations around complex societal problems, such as energy, water, food, transportation, security, health, environmental quality, and economic development.

The College has been central to the major transformation of the institution, and the dean provides the dynamic leadership necessary to foster intellectual curiosity and synergies of innovation throughout the undergraduate and graduate programs. The dean will be responsible for providing effective support to faculty research efforts and the attraction of funding from a variety of agencies and industries to support it.

The faculty and staff in the College are dedicated to providing students with a first-rate education that instills strong, basic knowledge for sound practice in agriculture, natural resources and design.

The dean will provide outstanding leadership and have primary responsibility for the academic excellence, administration and outreach of the College. In addition, experience in the creation of entrepreneurial and fundraising activities, the development of centers of excellence, the establishment and cultivation of interdisciplinary research and teaching initiatives. The management of a complex, academic unit underpinned by collegiality and inclusiveness is also expected.

Minimum Qualifications

The successful candidate must have:

  • A doctoral degree in a relevant field or an equivalent degree.
  • Credentials that merit appointment at the rank of full professor in one of the College's schools.
  • A proven leader and talented administrator.
  • A deep commitment to excellence in research, teaching and outreach.
  • A clear ability to use good judgment and make sound decisions.
  • A leadership style that invites collaboration, encourages teamwork, welcomes diverse perspectives and values transparency.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage change, resolve conflict and build consensus.
  • Superior interpersonal and communications skills, including tactfulness, a high level of emotional intelligence and concern for others, and the ability to navigate controversy gracefully and treat all people with civility and respect.
  • The ability to sustain vigorous research and educational enterprise through visionary leadership and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Preferred Qualifications

    • Demonstrated experience at a research university and success as a researcher committed to the search for new knowledge.
    • Demonstrated capability to support research at the student and faculty levels, and to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
    • The ability to effectively navigate policies and procedures in the state of West Virginia.
    • A robust understanding of the process required for gaining extramural research funding.
    • Demonstrated success as an educator and a genuine appreciation of, and good rapport with students.
    • Experience with academic program innovation and enrollment growth strategies.
    • Understanding and respect for the varied programs and disciplines within the Davis College.
    • Experience with international affairs as it relates to academic programming, student recruitment, and research collaboration.
    • The ability to imagine new possibilities for the college, develop and articulate a vision, and develop and implement effective strategic plans, including the ability to translate institutional strategy into operational goals, and to specify and prioritize short and long-range objectives.
    • Experience as an agent of innovation and change achieving excellence across a complex organization.
    • A demonstrable track-record of administrative achievement that gives strong evidence of his or her capacity to manage a complex college, including its budget, workforce, and programs.
    • The skills to navigate the organizational, political, and fiscal realities unique to a major public research university, and to make changes to improve current practice, including effective advocacy for the resources required to uphold mandates and achieve aspirations.
    • Familiarity with the distinctive features of, and opportunities for a land-grant institution - particularly as it pertains to the state and region.
    • Demonstrated capability to manage professional and support staff effectively, including hiring, motivating, training, developing and evaluating the job performance of employees.
    • A strong record of accomplishment promoting diversity, including assessing needs, developing initiatives and applying best practices.
    • The ability to recruit and retain highly desirable research and instructional faculty in a competitive environment.
    • The ability to work productively and cooperatively with stakeholders, administrators, faculty, students, staff, educators and community leaders as partners to advance the University’s research, teaching, engagement, outreach and service missions.
    • Significant experience with outreach, cross-organizational cooperation and extension services.
    • Experience and/or the clear potential to represent the College articulately and compellingly to external constituencies, enhancing the visibility and impact of its work while increasing gifts, funded research and other mission-aligned revenue.
    • The ability to develop and maintain an active alumni network.
    • Strong written, oral and interpersonal skills; the ability to communicate the College’s needs, plans and programs effectively.

      Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. is assisting West Virginia University in the search. Confidential applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled. For best consideration, applications and nominations should be provided by December 31, 2019. Initial screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. A complete application will include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position’s duties, responsibilities and qualifications; a current resume or curriculum vitae; and a list of names of five references (including titles, institutions and contact information). Submission of materials as PDF attachments is strongly encouraged.

      Confidential inquiries, nominations and application materials should be directed to:

      Jan Greenwood or Lori Harrington
      Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc.
      42 Business Center Drive, Suite 206
      Miramar Beach, FL 32550

      Phone: 850.650.2277 / Fax: 850.650.2272



      Search Committee Members

      • Gregory Dunaway - Dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and Search Committee Chair
      • Mary Beth Adams - Visiting Committee / Visiting Research Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources
      • Kimberly Barnes - Associate Professor / Coordinator of Biochemistry
      • Peter Butler - Chairperson / Director / Associate Professor ofDesign and Community Development
      • Cindy Fitch - Associate Dean of WVU Extension Programming and Research
      • Kathryn Gazal - Associate Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources
      • Joseph Hatton - Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture / Adjunct Associate Professor of Natural Resource Economics
      • Jason Hubbart – Professor / Director of the Institute for Water Security and Science
      • Margaret Minch - Teaching Professor of Animal and Nutritional Sciences
      • Joseph Moritz - Professor of Animal and Nutritional Sciences
      • Douglas Mugabe - Graduate Research Assistant of Natural Resource Economics
      • Lee Mullet - Teaching Assistant Professor / Program Coordinator of Design and Community Development
      • Daniel Panaccione - Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences
      • Barry Stephens - Academic Advisor of Division of Resource Economics and Management

      Dr. Kristina M. BooneKristina Boone

      Kristina Boone is the director of Ohio State ATI since 2017. She spent much of her career at Kansas State University, as a faculty member and then department head. At K-State, she led the agricultural communications and journalism undergraduate program and, working with teams, built a master's degree in agricultural education and communication, a secondary major in global food systems leadership, and a Ph.D. curriculum in leadership communication with a focus on community engaged scholarship. Prior to becoming department head, her research focused on awareness of Extension and risk and crisis communication. Before joining the faculty at K-State, she was a watershed extension agent with OSU Extension and worked in public relations and newspapers. She received her bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University in agricultural communication. Her master's and doctorate are from Ohio State University in agricultural communication and extension education.

      Dr. Jeffrey Dean

      Jeffrey DeanAfter graduating high school in Rock Springs, WY, Dr. Dean attended Stanford University, where he completed B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemistry in 1980. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University in 1986, specializing in protein chemistry and enzymology. Dr. Dean subsequently pursued postdoctoral studies in post-harvest physiology at the USDA-ARS Research Center in Beltsville, MD. In 1990, Dr. Dean moved to the University of Georgia where he spent more than 24 years rising through the academic ranks, eventually receiving appointment as Professor in both the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. He was a founding member of the Institute of Bioinformatics at UGA and was its Interim Director for one year prior to moving to Mississippi State University in 2014. At Mississippi State University, Dr. Dean is Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology whose 42 faculty pursue research and extension programs that span a wide range of topics, many focused on applied agricultural problems. In addition to providing graduate research opportunities for about 50 M.S. and Ph.D. students, the department boasts more than 400 undergraduate students seeking B.S. degrees in Biochemistry, most of whom are pursuing pre-professional training for the biomedical sciences. Dr. Dean has co-authored more than 90 research publications covering topics in plant and fungal biology, biotechnological approaches to solving problems in agriculture and forestry, and the use of genomic approaches for understanding biological processes, including wood formation and the response of trees to biotic and abiotic stress. Specific examples of research he has pursued include studies of fungal cellulases and xylanases for use in upgrading plant fibers for the pulp and paper industry, characterization of the roles of plant and fungal laccases in lignin formation and biodegradation, and transcriptome responses in the wood-forming tissues of loblolly pine producing compression wood. Dr. Dean remains actively engaged in several international research collaborations with colleagues from Canada, Sweden and the EU working on development of conifer genome resources. Dr. Dean serves on the Scientific Advisory Board to the MS Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce as well as the Executive Board of MS Certified Crop Advisors. He also currently chairs a taskforce on the assessment of faculty teaching at Mississippi State University.

      Dr. Darrell W. Donahue

      Darrell DonahueDarrell W. Donahue, PhD, CQE, began as professor and chair of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), Michigan State University (MSU) in July 2015. He became the Director of the Institute of Water Research at MSU in February 2017. Dr. Donahue currently has a 100% administrative appointment as Professor, Chairperson and Director at MSU. Prior to MSU, he was at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) where he was Vice-President of Operations and Research Director, 2012-2015. Dr. Donahue began his academic career at the University of Maine where he moved through the academic ranks to professor of chemical engineering and Associate Director of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, 1996-2012.
      Dr. Donahue’s previous research has a broad spectrum and background. Throughout his career, he has focused on process operations efficiency improvement, near-infrared spectroscopy, and risk assessment. Dr. Donahue currently serves as a member of the United Nations International Commission on the Microbiological Specifications for Foods and as an expert on WHO/FAO panels in food safety and defense. He continues consults with several federal government agencies in the area of risk assessment and its evaluation. In these risk assessment venues, Dr. Donahue contributed his expertise to the exposure assessment and dose response portions of risk assessment modeling process as well as contributing his strengths in industrial statistics and Monte Carlo simulation and modeling.
      Dr. Donahue is excited to be a candidate for the Dean, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design and is looking forward to sharing his thoughts on academic leadership.

      Kenneth P. BlemingsKen Blemings was raised in rural New Jersey and became active in 4-H and FFA in middle and high school. He attended Virginia Tech with the idea of going to veterinary school but decided to pursue graduate school after getting involved in undergraduate research. After graduate school and a post-doctoral experience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ken and his family moved to Morgantown in 1999.

      Beginning as an Assistant Professor in West Virginia University’s Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, his research focused on the molecular regulation of lysine metabolism while he taught biochemistry to both graduate and undergraduate students. Ken was successfully tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2005 and then fully promoted in 2010. From 2010 to 2014, Ken had a 50% appointment to serve as the Assistant Director of the Division’s Academic Affairs. In this role, he helped facilitate development of the Intercollegiate Undergraduate Program in Biochemistry, the first program of its kind on campus, where he served as the inaugural leader.

      Ken was asked to serve as the Interim Dean of the WVU Honors College in 2014. In 2015, after a national search, he was named dean.  While at the Honors College, Ken was instrumental in the University’s efforts to attract high-achieving students, speaking to groups of students and their parents both on and off campus. Under his leadership, the number of incoming Honors College students doubled while the standards to receive an invitation were raised. Additionally, the development of an alternative admissions process permitted capturing groups of high-achieving students that the normal admissions process missed.These groups included underrepresented students whose presence increased as a result of the alternative process.

      About a year ago, Ken was asked to serve as the Interim Dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. While at Davis, he has focused his efforts on increasing budget transparency, increasing farm functionality and improving the college’s culture. In working to improve farm functionality, Ken initiated a process to engage various stakeholders as well as WVU’s Talent and Culture. With regards to culture, there have been several initiatives, the most notable of which is providing Gallup Strengths Training to college faculty and staff.

      On the personal side, Ken has been happily married to a Virginia Tech classmate, Cara, for over 31 years. Cara is a part-time nurse at Mon Health Systems. They have 2 children, Ben, 27, and Elizabeth, 23. Ben is a doctoral candidate in Economics at WVU and Elizabeth is an analyst at NatWest Markets in Stamford, Connecticut.  Ken enjoys shooting sports, but his happy place is in a stream with his fly rod.

      Alton B. JohnsonDr. Alton B. Johnson is Dean and Professor of Soil Physics, College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture, and Director of University Land-Grant Programs, at Central State University. He has a wealth of experience in management, administration and academia. Prior to joining Central State University, Dr. Johnson served as Dean, Research Director, and Extension Administrator at Prairie View A&M University;  and Interim Assistant Dean of Research in the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences and Chief Research Officer at Alcorn State University. During his sixteen-year career at Alcorn State University, he also served as Interim Research Director, President of the Faculty Assembly, Chair of the University Athletics Committee, and Faculty Athletics Representative. Dr. Johnson worked in the President’s office as co-chair of the Transition Team for the 17th President of Alcorn State University and as his advisor on land-grant issues. He also served as Director of the Mississippi River Research Center that conducted research and public service activities to aid in improving water resources in Mississippi.

      Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in General Agriculture from the University of Liberia, and a master’s in Agronomy with a concentration in Soil and Water Management and Conservation from Mississippi State University. He received the Ph.D. in Agronomy with a concentration in Soil Physics from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He received certification in Leadership from the Leadership for the 21st Century (LEAD21) program administered by the Fanning Institute and a Certificate of Achievement in Leadership Excellence from the American Management Association (AMA). He also received certificates from the AMA in the following programs: Strategic Planning, Developing Executive Leadership, Critical Thinking, Fundamentals of Marketing, and Preparing for Leadership. He further received a certificate from the Institute of Management and Leadership in Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a certificate in Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives from the Harvard University Extension School.  

      Dr. Johnson recently worked with a select Ohio Congressional Delegation to increase funding for Central State’s Land-Grant Program through the 2018 Farm Bill without affecting the other land-grant universities. This effort increased CSU combined  Research and Extension annual funding from $4 million to $12 million permanently. He recently led the establishment of the Cynthia Jackson-Hammond Institute for Professional Development. This Institute has been selected by the Tetiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) of Nigeria to provide grant writing and project management trainings for over 1,200 Nigerian scientists and engineers through 2023.  

      Alton and his wife, Stephanie, together are parents of five daughters and a son.