BOZEMAN — A longtime faculty member in the Montana State University Department of Health and Human Development has been selected as dean of the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development.
Alison Harmon, a professor of food and nutrition and sustainable food systems who has also been serving as interim dean of the college since July 1, 2015, was named dean after a national search. Harmon’s new role at MSU is effective immediately.
MSU Interim Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Robert Mokwa said Harmon is a “shining star” who has a high level of support from faculty, staff and students in the College of Education, Health and Human Development, as well as from the wider university community.
“We had a strong pool of candidates for this position, and I thank the members of the search committee for their good work,” Mokwa said. “I am pleased to welcome Alison Harmon as the new dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development. I am confident that with her experience, leadership skills and ability to work well with others, she will continue to inspire the college in support of the land-grant mission of MSU.”
Harmon came to MSU in 2004 from The Pennsylvania State University, where she had developed considerable expertise in ecological farming and forestry, as well as in sustainable food systems. Since her arrival at MSU, she has collaborated with faculty in the MSU College of Agriculture, as well as stakeholders statewide, to create the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems degree program. The program is unique in its farm-to-fork scope and has won national recognition for its interdisciplinary excellence. The cornerstone of the program is MSU’s Towne’s Harvest Garden, a student-initiated farm and community-supported agriculture project.
Harmon was also instrumental in the development of MSU’s dietetic internship program, which is the first of its kind in Montana. The program is also the first in the nation to emphasize sustainable food systems for improving rural health.
Harmon earned a doctorate in nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University and is a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist.
Harmon said she was drawn to the position because she enjoys the everyday challenges of leading a large and complex academic organization.
“Faculty and students in the College of Education, Health and Human Development are driven by the mission of the college and have a high capacity for problem solving and innovation,” Harmon said. “We are becoming a wonderfully collaborative organization, and I look forward to working on the next big thing we are going to accomplish together.”
Harmon succeeds Lynda Ransdell, who left MSU in 2015 for an administrative position at Arizona State University.
The MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development is comprised of the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Development. It offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees. For more information about the college, visit http://www.montana.edu/wwwed/.
Contact: Robert Mokwa, (406) 994-4371 or firstname.lastname@example.org