Kim Christen appointed associate vice chancellor for research advancement and partnerships

Closeup of Kimberly Christen in front of several trees.
Kimberly Christen

The Office of Research has appointed Kimberly Christen as associate vice chancellor for Research Advancement and Partnerships. Christen takes up the role on Feb. 13.

In this role, Christen will provide leadership, long-range strategy, and short-term planning for Research Advancement and Partnerships and the research centers supported by the Office of Research. She will lead systemwide efforts to develop and strengthen the research culture at WSU, including an emphasis on equity-centered research; to increase the capacity of, and productivity in, transdisciplinary research, scholarship, and creative activity across all disciplines; and track emerging trends, growth areas and new opportunities in strategically important research areas by capturing research intelligence related to the external funding environment. 

As a key member of the Office of Research management team, Christen will serve as an advocate and advisor to Christopher Keane, vice president for research at WSU and vice chancellor for research at WSU Pullman, in matters relating to initiatives and programs aimed at increasing the impact, stature, and visibility of the university’s research, scholarship, and creative activities. 

“I am pleased to welcome Kim to the Office of Research. Her experience working and identifying research sponsorship opportunities will be an asset to this role and our WSU research community. With more than 18 years of research at WSU, she brings a wealth of knowledge that will help her be able to work closely with faculty, staff, students, community partners, and university leadership across the WSU system to elevate the impact and visibility of our research, scholarship, and creative activities,” said Keane. 

Christen previously served as a professor and chair of the Department of Digital Technology and Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences. Christen will retain her tenured professor status in the Department of Digital Technology and Culture. She also has served as the director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at WSU. Christen is the founder of Mukurtu CMS, an open-source software platform designed with Indigenous communities globally to meet their unique information, curatorial, and data needs. She is also the co-director of Local Contexts, a global initiative to provide digital tools and legal frameworks for stewarding digital cultural heritage, biocultural data, and intellectual property by Indigenous communities. 

Her research and scholarship explore the intersections between data management, software systems, and information ethics, specifically addressing issues of access, use and reuse of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge in global networks. Christen has collaborated broadly to emphasize community-engaged research, including working closely with Native American nations across Washington state and nationally, as well as with Indigenous communities globally to build digital platforms and networks as catalysts for social change. She has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress and other federal agencies to advance the digital repatriation of cultural heritage materials and data to Native American nations.

“I am thrilled to join the Office of Research and build upon the great work done by Research Advancement and Partnerships. My experience building partnerships with tribal nations, industry, technologists, and community groups will provide me with the necessary tools to support WSU’s research initiatives and stimulate faculty collaborations as they work to advance their research, scholarship, and creative activities,” said Christen. 

Her research has been funded by federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as non-profit and private funders including the American Council of Learned Societies and the Andrew W. Mellow Foundation. 

Christen fills the role following the retirement of Geeta Dutta. Samuel Rodriquez Flecha has served as interim director of the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships since Dutta’s departure in June 2022.

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