Todd Butler resigns as College of Arts and Sciences dean

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Todd Butler has announced his resignation as the dean of Washington State University’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Butler will join San Diego State University as the dean of the College of Arts and Letters on July 1, 2024.

“Dr. Butler has been a strong leader for the College of Arts and Sciences and Washington State University,” said Elizabeth Chilton, provost and executive vice president. “President Schulz and I have greatly appreciated Todd’s impactful leadership and steadfast commitment to the university throughout his twenty-plus years at WSU.”

Effective June 1, 2024, Provost Chilton has named Courtney Meehan as interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. Meehan will serve a two-year term, and a national search to hire the next permanent dean is expected to be launched by the Provost’s Office in August 2025.

The College of Arts and Sciences consists of more than 700 faculty and staff and more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled across 19 academic units. Under Butler’s leadership, the college pursued a shared vision of integrative research and educational excellence extending well beyond the traditional boundaries of academia. Butler led the initial planning for a proposed Integrative Sciences Building, secured a $1.75 million naming gift for the Center for Arts and Humanities, and reimagined the college’s promotion and tenure process to recognize the importance of interdisciplinary and publicly engaged research.

During his deanship, the college also reduced “opportunity gaps” for students in key UCORE courses, established a Seattle Experience for undergraduates, and created WSU’s first college-based student mental health strategy. In collaboration with department chairs and school directors, CAS became WSU’s only college to require coursework in the university’s newly established “Equity and Social Justice” category as part of its undergraduate core.

Meehan has served as a critical member of the college’s leadership team and is well-positioned for the transition to interim dean, having served as the college’s associate dean for research and graduate studies since September 2018.

“I am grateful for Dr. Meehan’s willingness to serve as interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Chilton. “She has been an instrumental senior member of Dean Butler’s leadership cabinet, and I am confident she will be able to continue the positive trajectory and momentum of the college.”

Meehan earned her PhD in Anthropology from Washington State University and joined the faculty in 2006. Her research focuses on maternal-child health, human milk composition, and the evolution of human childhood. Meehan’s research is transdisciplinary and has occurred locally, nationally, and internationally.

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