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Barbara Knuth named vice provost, Graduate School dean

Barbara Knuth
Robert Barker/University Photography
Barbara Knuth

Barbara Knuth, Cornell professor of natural resource policy and management and senior associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), has been named vice provost, effective April 1, and dean of the Cornell Graduate School for a five-year term, beginning July 1, Provost Kent Fuchs announced today.

Knuth will succeed Alison "Sunny" Power as dean of the Graduate School, and in her role as vice provost, she will assume some of the responsibilities held by Deputy Provost David Harris, who will be taking an extended leave of absence from Cornell to work in the administration of President Barack Obama in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Executive Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees approved Knuth's appointment as dean of the Graduate School, which had been recommended by Fuchs with the concurrence of President David Skorton, on Friday, March 12.

Power, who was appointed Graduate School dean in 2002, will be stepping down at the completion of her second term on June 30. Power will return to the faculty, where she is a professor in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and of Science and Technology Studies.

"I am delighted that Barbara Knuth has agreed to accept this new role in the central administration and with the Graduate School," Fuchs said. "She has a record of truly outstanding leadership as senior associate dean and previously as department chair. I look forward to working with her and benefiting from her knowledge, insight and considerable experience.

"I also want to thank Sunny Power for her leadership as dean for the past eight years," Fuchs added. "She deserves the high esteem she has earned in the Graduate School community and around the university."

"I am honored to be taking on this dual role in university leadership at such a critical time for setting the future direction of Cornell," said Knuth. "As dean, I look forward to working with the graduate faculty, students and the university leadership to increase the visibility of the Graduate School and ensure Cornell continues to provide an excellent graduate education through our research and professional graduate degree programs and postdoc positions. As vice provost, I welcome the opportunities and challenges working with the provost, president, deans and other university leaders toward positioning our university strategically as we approach our sesquicentennial."

As professor of natural resource policy and management and associate director of the Human Dimensions Research Unit in the Department of Natural Resources, Knuth oversees a research program focusing on human attitudes and behaviors related to the environment, specifically associated with the use and management of natural resources. As senior associate dean in CALS, Knuth oversees and helps facilitate faculty and department programs and planning efforts in half of the college's departments and units focusing on applied social sciences, environmental sciences, and food and nutritional sciences.

Knuth holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech (1986), which recognized her with the Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award in 2007, and an M.En. (1982), B.Phil. (1980) and B.A. (1980) from Miami University. She currently is on the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies, and has served on numerous scientific panels and advisory boards.

She also has held a variety of leadership and service positions at Cornell, including Faculty in Residence for Balch Hall, speaker of the University Faculty Senate, co-chair of the Campus Planning Committee, and she currently is a member of the Middle States Accreditation Planning and Steering Committee.

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Simeon Moss