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Davis Colleges announces two new leadership team members

The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design recently announced two new appointments to its leadership team. Dean Darrell Donahue named Kimberly Barnes as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Chris Ashwell as Director for the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences.

Barnes, an associate professor of biochemistry, currently serves as the College’s interim associate dean for academic affairs. She will assume the permanent position on July 1.
Kim Barnes

She received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University, a master’s and Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She joined WVU in 2007 as an assistant professor in the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences. Her research focused on nutritional biochemistry and lipid metabolism. 

In 2015, Barnes was selected to lead the intercollegiate biochemistry program, the first program of its kind at WVU and shared between the Davis College and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

A student-centered leader, Barnes served as interim director for the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences from 2018-2019. She was then named to the 2019-2020 class of Academic Leadership Fellows by the Office of the Provost. 

During her tenure, Barnes explored how to better develop and manage interdisciplinary programs. She also served on the academic policy committee, TorchStar retention steering committee and the online academic support committee.

“Dr. Barnes has a breadth of knowledge in academic programming and has been instrumental in developing and supporting intercollegiate programs and majors,” Donahue said. “Her overall understanding of college and university processes and demonstrated interest in the success and wellbeing of students are a great asset to the Davis College and WVU.”

Chris AshwellChris Ashwell joins the Mountaineer family from North Carolina State University where he leads the Office of Undergraduate Research. He begins his new role at WVU on July 26.

Ashwell earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and nutrition from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Wake Forest University. 

He joined the faculty in NC State’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science in 2003 and developed an extramurally funded research and teaching program in functional genomics and biotechnology.

During his tenure as director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, Ashwell impacted student success by supporting and promoting discovery, inquiry, scholarship and creativity-based opportunities through mentored research experiences across all of the disciplines.

He also developed professional development programming for undergraduates and increased the participation of underrepresented groups in research and discovery. 

“Dr. Ashwell is an accomplished researcher focusing on avian genomics,” Donahue said. “He has incredible foresight into the future of higher education at land-grant universities and will be an important member of our team as the College and the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences continue to grow and evolve.”


CONTACT: Lindsay Willey
Director of Marketing and Communications
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design