Hufford named Outstanding Department Chair/School Director

Hufford-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Larry Hufford, director of the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), has received Washington State University’s award for the 2015 Outstanding Department Chair/School Director.

He is the second recipient of the annual award created by Provost Dan Bernardo to celebrate excellence in unit-level leadership. Find information on the award criteria and nomination process at

Hufford, right, with Provost Bernardo.

SBS faculty teach the second largest department/school undergraduate credit hour load at WSU, said Daryll DeWald, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS): “Most students at WSU experience SBS courses, and Dr. Hufford orchestrates delivery and improvement of the curriculum admirably.

“I am impressed with his vision and implementation of this vision for SBS,” the dean continued. “They have a quality strategic plan.”

“SBS is essential to the mission of our college and university,” Hufford said. “I believe we can set examples, and we have stepped forward to serve as pilots for the Student Success Collaborative (, for development of faculty role statements and for peer review of faculty teaching in CAS.”

Hufford’s leadership style is “consensus building among our diverse faculty rather than dictating an agenda,” said Mechthild Tegeder, SBS professor. She commended his efforts toward strategic and diverse hiring, an improved annual review process and promotion of career development and mentoring among faculty.

The SBS has expanded and improved its programs under Hufford’s direction, said DeWald. Student retention has improved with introduction of inquiry-based lab experiences, student engagement in biology lectures and enhanced academic advising, said Tegeder.

“He established a committee to design a new interdisciplinary human biology degree … and has been instrumental in expanding online course offerings and developing an online biology degree,” said Patrick A. Carter, associate professor in SBS.

“The exit interviews I conduct with graduating seniors give voice to strengths and weaknesses of our program,” Hufford said. “Evaluating how we meet their aspirations has provided insights we have applied in planning.”

As co-chair of the committee tasked with organizing the new College of Arts and Sciences, Hufford’s “calm and inclusive leadership style allayed the fears of many faculty about the merger,” said Carter. He has been a leader on the college’s planning project, said DeWald.

Hufford said he has worked to integrate faculty and develop program potential on the urban campuses: “This included modifying the SBS graduate program to allow its expansion in Vancouver and moving toward an undergraduate B.S. in biology in the Tri-Cities.”

Hufford joined WSU in 1993 and has directed SBS since 2010. He is director of the Marion Ownbey Herbarium and interim director of the Connor Museum of Natural History. He is associate director of the general studies program in CAS.

His research focuses on flowering plant systematics and evolution, and he has authored or co-authored 100 publications. He earned a Ph.D. in botany in 1986 from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in botany in 1980 from Iowa State University.