M. Duane Nellis, dean of West Virginia Universitys Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, will leave the post he has held for the past seven years to be Kansas State Universitys chief academic officer, Provost Gerald Lang announced today (Feb. 20).
As K-States provost, Nellis will over see nine academic colleges, the libraries, graduate school and the Division of Continuing Education, among other offices. He will begin July 1.
Duane Nellis has been an outstanding dean for the last seven years,Lang said,and his strong leadership and commitment to the Eberly College was evident in the outstanding success the college had during the recent capital campaign. He leaves the college well positioned for the next dean.
We wish Duane and his wife, Ruth, also a member of the University family, well,Lang added.He is well prepared to serve as the provost of another great land-grant institution, K-State. In a sense, he is returning home, having worked there for 17 years prior to coming to WVU .
Lang also lauded Ruth Nellis for her role in coordinating the Universitys new library building construction and related projects.
As dean, Dr. Nellis led WVU s largest and most diverse academic unit, with 16 departments and divisions, 16 centers and institutes, and more than 50 academic programs from certificates to doctoral degrees.
He oversaw the planning and construction of WVU s new $50 million Life Sciences Building, which houses the nationally ranked psychology and biology departments, and led efforts to create new majors in womens studies, forensic science, and criminology and investigative science.
Under his leadership, a Center for Writing Excellence and Institute of Math Learning were also established, and the WVU Press was revived.
Nellis also taught classes in his area of expertise, geology and geography, including a freshman introductory physical geography course and a graduate level remote sensing class. In addition he conducted research in natural resource systems and geo-spatial analysis.
Nellis said the K-State opportunity wasvery exciting in one waysad in another.
I have mixed emotions,he said.Ive been here for seven years and have been a part of a number of very exciting and positive changes. Ive enjoyed the friendships that Ive built and the support Ive received from everyonefrom the president and provost to the students, faculty and staff to our many alumni and friends. I have a strong bond with WVU and a passion for the Eberly College. Im very proud of what weve been able to accomplish together.
At the same time, I look forward with excitement to this new opportunity to be provost at a major land-grant institution that I know well,he added.
Majors in the Eberly College have grown from 4,600 in 1997 to more than 6,300 today.
The college raised $27 million during its capital campaign, exceeding its goal by 35 percent. This will enable Eberly to provide more scholarships for students, additional professorships for faculty and a better learning environment for all.
Competitive extramural funding increased significantly.
New student-centered initiatives, such as the development of a nationally competitive debate team, were created.
Before coming to WVU in June 1997, Nellis spent 17 years at K-State, progressing from assistant professor of geography to professor and head of the department, and then to senior associate dean of K-State’s College of Arts and Sciences. He was the first director of K-State’s Institute for Social and Behavioral Research.
He is a member and immediate past president of the Association of American Geographers, the nation’s largest professional geography organization, which presented him the John Fraser Hart Award for Research Excellence as well as national honors.
He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and former president of the National Council for Geographic Education. He received a Presidential Citation Award from the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. He also is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Soil Conservation Society of America.
At WVU , he received the Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice in 2003 and the Universitys Leadership Award for Safety in 2002. He was also inducted as an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key National Honor Society.
Nellis earned his doctorate in 1980 and his master’s degree in 1977both in geographyfrom Oregon State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from Montana State University in 1976.
Lang said an interim dean will be named later this semester, followed by a national search for a replacement.