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Todd Butler named dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Closeup of Todd Butler
Todd Butler

PULLMAN, Wash. – Todd Butler has been named dean of Washington State University’s College of Arts and Sciences following consultative meetings and discussions with university leaders, department chairs and school directors within the college.

Butler is currently serving as interim dean and will begin as dean on March 15. Since assuming the interim dean position, he has provided strong, stable and forward-looking leadership for the college.

“I appreciate Dr. Butler’s leadership during this relentless and ever-changing landscape caused by the pandemic,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton. “He assumed the interim dean role and immediately went to work engaging his colleagues within the college and across the university system. I met with the chairs and directors of CAS this past Tuesday to discuss this potential appointment, and I was thrilled to receive their strong endorsement. Both President Schulz and I could not imagine a stronger leader for CAS at the present time. We appreciate his collaborative, thoughtful, solution-oriented and positive leadership. We look forward to working closely with him and supporting the College of Arts and Sciences. He will help make both CAS and WSU even stronger.”

Butler has served as a faculty member in WSU’s Department of English since 2003 and has more than a decade of administrative leadership experience at WSU, including two terms as department chair (2012-2018), and as associate dean for faculty in CAS. As associate dean for faculty, Butler supervised personnel matters for the college, which includes more than 550 faculty across 36 different units in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. He has been responsible for hiring, tenure and promotion, annual and pre-tenure review, professional leaves, leadership and professional development as well as joint participation in strategic planning, budget development and enrollment management efforts. He also has served as the college’s representative on WSU’s Modernization Steering Committee and Fiscal Health Advisory Committee.

Butler is also the founding director of WSU’s Center for Arts and Humanities, which focuses on catalyzing public engagement and collaborative interdisciplinary scholarship as well as creative activity. In that capacity, he leads the center’s Publicly Engaged Fellows program for graduate students and is the co-principal investigator for Humanities Extended, a Spencer Foundation-funded initiative to develop a network of humanities and Extension collaborations at more than 10 land-grant universities across the United States. He previously helped lead the development of the Office of Research’s “Advancing Opportunity and Equity” Grand Challenge, working with faculty in Arts and Sciences, Education, Communications, and Business to create a university-wide framework for trans-disciplinary research in areas such as poverty, discrimination and educational inequality.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as the next dean for the College of Arts and Sciences,” Butler said. “The College of Arts and Sciences is at the heart of the institution and poised for great success. I am thankful to work at a university that values our land-grant ideals, and alongside talented faculty, staff, and students.”

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