A scholar in cell biology and neuroscience who has served as a dean at two universities has been named dean of the University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences.

Paula Lutz comes to UW from Montana State University, where she was dean of its College of Letters & Science for five years and was a professor of cell biology and neuroscience. She will succeed the retiring B. Oliver Walter, who has led UW’s College of Arts and Sciences since 1989.

“Dr. Lutz’s record of accomplishments includes innovative teaching and curricular initiatives, programs to advance research and graduate education, diversity enhancement, faculty hiring and career development, budget management and strategic planning,” says UW Provost Myron Allen, who announced Lutz’s hiring Tuesday. “In addition to her outstanding work on behalf of her faculty colleagues as dean, she has an exemplary teaching and research record of her own. We’re delighted she’s bringing that great depth of experience and talents to UW.”

Lutz will begin her work at UW in July, leading the college with the largest enrollment of UW’s academic units, with bachelor’s degree programs in 43 disciplines, 42 master’s programs and 11 doctoral programs.

Lutz completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) and received a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at Duke University. She did post-doctoral work at both Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill before joining the faculty at UMR, now the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

In nearly two decades at UMR, Lutz won more than a dozen outstanding teaching and faculty excellence awards. She became dean of the UMR College of Arts and Sciences in 2002, leaving in 2007 to become dean of the College of Letters & Science at Montana State. She has continued both teaching and research throughout her administrative career, including research into the effects of lead on children’s immune systems.

Lutz was selected from a list of three finalists produced by a 13-member search committee that included Arts and Sciences faculty members, two UW vice presidents and the director of the Wyoming Humanities Council. Chairing the group was Bill Gern, vice president for research and economic development.

“Their hard work and attention to detail produced a slate of three superb interviewees,” Allen says. “I’m especially grateful for the committee’s balanced and persuasive assessments of the candidates’ relative strengths.”

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