Moxley retires; Buckwalter named new dean of Human Ecology

K-State Communications and Marketing
Moxley has been dean of the College the Human Ecology since January 2006 and was associate dean from 1985 to 2005 (Photo: Dave Mayes)

Virginia Moxley retires as dean of Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology in June after serving the college for more than 25 years. She is a fifth-generation Kansan with three degrees from the university and a fierce dedication to the people-centered, science-based mission of human ecology.

Moxley has been dean since January 2006 and was associate dean from 1985 to 2005. She will enter a one-year phased retirement, working with the Institute for Academic Alliances, a K-State institute she had led since its inception. It provides consultation and management support for higher education alliances worldwide.

"I have been privileged to serve as dean at an extraordinary time," Moxley said. "Our teaching and research accomplishments have been among the top in the nation. Our facilities are a model of sustainable and functional design."

Today, the College of Human Ecology consists of four departments, one school, nine centers and institutes, two clinics and a museum.

During Moxley's tenure as dean the college has:
Built a $5 million expansion to Justin Hall, paid for with private funds;
Incorporated the department of kinesiology into the college;
Created the Physical Activity and Nutrition Clinical Research Consortium at the Lafene Health Center;
Expanded college offerings to both the Salina and Olathe campuses;
Seen annual research funding grow to more than $20 million;
Increased enrollment to a record more than 3,000 students.

The dean is a founder of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a multi-institutional group sponsoring undergraduate and graduate academic programs. She has served as national president of Omicron Nu Honor Society, now Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society; co-founded the Undergraduate Research Community for the Human Sciences; and helped establish a human sciences program at the National University of Asuncion in Paraguay.

Moxley was honored by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities' Board on Human Sciences as the recipient of the 2009 Public Service Award.

Prior to the publication of the 2000 Classification of Instructional Programs by the National Center for Educational Statistics, Moxley led a team of representatives from six professional associations and two federal agencies to implement a major redefinition of the fields of study within the human sciences -- the first major correction in four decades.

After she announced last year that she planned to retire, a Virginia Munson Moxley Excellence Fund was established in recognition of her contributions to the college and the academic community locally and nationally. The fund will be used to continue pursuit of the college mission to advance human health and well-being through education and research.

For information about the fund, contact Jennifer Rettele-Thomas, senior director of development at the Kansas State University Foundation, at 785-532-7592 or

John Buckwalter will become dean of the College of Human Ecology on July 1. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

John Buckwalter will become the next dean of the College of Human Ecology on July 1. Currently, Buckwalter is the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Health Professions and Education at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"I am both humbled and excited by the opportunity to join the College of Human Ecology as dean," Buckwalter said. "I eagerly look forward to working with the outstanding faculty and staff in the college to move toward the goals outlined in K-State 2025."

He did his graduate work in kinesiology and was a professor, and later department chair, in kinesiology at the University of Texas-Arlington. K-State's Department of Kinesiology moved to the College of Human Ecology this year. The college also encompasses the departments of apparel, textiles and interior design; hospitality management and dietetics; human nutrition; and a gerontology program and the School of Family Studies and Human Services.

"I am very pleased that John Buckwalter is joining the College of Human Ecology as its new dean," said April Mason, the university's provost and senior vice president. "John Buckwalter has a deep background in research as a scientist himself, and as an administrator he has championed research and made it a part of his college's strategic plan. His leadership will be instrumental as the college continues to grow and evolve to achieve its K-State 2025 goals for integrated education, research and engagement."

Buckwalter's current position of associate dean for research and graduate studies was created in the College of Education and Health Professions at UT Arlington to address issues of research productivity. In this position he has led initiatives to develop a college strategic plan for research and a collegewide plan to highlight faculty research capacity. As department head in kinesiology, Buckwalter led faculty to receive the department's first grants from the National Institutes for Health and NASA.

"John Buckwalter's experience shows the aspirational leadership we're looking for to help us become a Top 50 public research university by 2025," said K-State President Kirk Schulz. "His initiatives demonstrate that he is willing to set the bar high, like we are at K-State."

Buckwalter earned a doctorate and a master's degree from the University of Arkansas in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education with teacher certification for K-12, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with secondary level teacher certification, both from Centenary College in Shreveport, La.

Buckwalter's offer letter and contract are available as PDFs.

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