He replaces Candis Claiborn, who is stepping down from the position she held for a decade to return to her faculty position in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
A national search for a new dean is underway.
With Washington State University since 1997, Bender is the Weyerhaeuser distinguished professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Composite Materials and Engineering Center.
His research interests include engineering analysis and design of timber structures; deck safety; laboratory testing and analysis of engineered wood components; composite materials, connections and assemblies; post-frame construction; nondestructive evaluation of wood materials; wood durability; and building envelopes. He led efforts to change national building codes to improve deck safety and is active in revising the national timber design code and consensus standards promulgated by the American National Standards Institute, American Society for Testing and Materials and National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Bender has won numerous awards, including two from the post-frame building industry and six national awards for journal articles. He received the WSU Voiland College’s outstanding teaching faculty award as well as a departmental outstanding faculty award. He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University and earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees at Virginia Tech University.
“Dr. Bender has tremendous knowledge of the college and the university,” said WSU Provost Daniel J. Bernardo. “He is well-prepared to guide the college and to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership. We greatly appreciate his willingness to serve in this position.”