Keith Garbutt, associate professor and chair of the Department of Biology, will assume the helm of West Virginia Universitys Honors Program next month, Associate Provost Rosemary Haggett announced this week.

Dr. Garbutt will begin the transition process July 1, working with current director, Bill Collins, who will retire from WVU Aug. 15.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Garbutt has agreed to accept this important position. I am sure that he will provide excellent leadership to the program and build upon the strong foundation established by Dr. Collins,”Haggett said.

Garbutt, who came to WVU in 1987, is a long-time advisor of Honors Program students and a teacher of Honors courses. In recognition of his service, the Honors Program named him an Outstanding Advisor in 1998. A year later, Garbutt received the first ever Golden Key National Honor Society Golden Apple award for Outstanding Advising.

“The University Honors Program is one of the most important programs in assuring academic excellence amongst the undergraduates at West Virginia University,”Garbutt noted in his application for the position.”It provides an environment to attract some of the very best students in the nation to WVU and provides them with a nurturing environment in which they can truly develop their own potential.”

Garbutt will step down as chair of the Department of Biology, but will continue to teach in that department.”I think teaching and directing the Honors Program will interact positively. Theres a synergism between the two,”he commented.

“I am very pleased with Dr. Garbutts appointment, and particularly pleased that he will maintain a very active teaching and advising role in the College of Arts and Sciences as an Eberly Professor,”said Duane Nellis, Dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

There are approximately 700 students in the Honors Program and between 40 and 55 Honors classes each semester ranging from accounting to African American literature. The current Honors Program was established at WVU in 1982.

Garbutt earned his bachelors and doctorate degrees in botany at the University of Wales and has numerous publications to his credit. He has garnered accolades for his teaching, including his recent appointment as an Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of Outstanding Teaching. In addition, he received both the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher award and the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1993. His commitment to students is also evident from his work with student organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega, Beta Beta Beta and Mortar Board.

As Honors Program director, Garbutt hopes to review the programs recruitment efforts and work toward increasing the number and variety of Honors Program courses.