PULMAN – Richard T. Koenig, associate soil scientist and extension soil fertility specialist, is named chair of WSU’s crop and soil sciences department, effective Nov. 1.

His appointment was announced today by Dan Bernardo, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.

“During the period from August 1 through October 31, Rich will be working in various capacities with Bill Pan to assure a seamless transition of the department’s leadership on November 1,” Bernardo said.

Koenig replaces William Pan, who will return to teaching and research in the department.

“The department and college are deeply indebted to Dr. Bill Pan for his eight years of service as chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences,” Bernardo wrote in a message to department faculty. “Bill has led the department in a positive and compassionate manner and handled some very difficult situations with grace and dignity.”

Koenig, a member of the WSU faculty since 2003, holds a bachelor’s of science degree in natural resource management and master’s of science degree in soil science from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He earned a doctorate in soil fertility and plant nutrition at WSU in 1993.

Before coming to WSU, Koenig was an associate professor and Extension soils specialist at Utah State University from 1995 to 2003. He was a post-doctoral teaching fellow at Colorado State University.

At WSU, the primary focus of Koenig’s work has been on soil and nutrient management in eastern Washington’s dryland agriculture systems.

The crop and soils sciences department, the largest in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, has more than 160 faculty and staff statewide. That number includes USDA-Agricultural Research scientists who hold adjunct appointments.