Waller celebrates 17 years as CASNR dean, looks to future

Steven Waller
Steven Waller

Lincoln, Neb. — Steven Waller will transition to a new role this summer after 17 years as dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. He will become interim director of the Center for Grassland Studies on July 1.

Tiffany Heng-Moss, the college's associate dean, will become interim dean on July 1. A search committee will be assembled in the fall to begin the search for a permanent leader.

Waller has much to be proud of during his tenure as CASNR dean, and while the academic accomplishments are significant, it's the essence of the college that he says is most special.

"CASNR is so much more than an academic college, and I think everyone here would tell you that," he said. "The students, faculty and staff within CASNR are part of a true community and that's something to be proud of."

That community is one that is growing at a rate the university has never seen. CASNR is experiencing 12 consecutive years of enrollment growth. Waller has been instrumental in that growth.

"CASNR's unprecedented enrollment growth is a bright spot for the university and can be directly attributed to the outstanding vision that Steve has used to guide the college over the years," said Michael Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "With his expertise in range management and superior leadership skills, the Center for Grassland Studies has a bright future ahead."

Under Waller's leadership, CASNR has doubled the number of academic programs offered; increased the number of faculty and staff engaged in outcomes-based student success programming; developed innovative, partnership-driven global engagement programs; and expanded the college's global network through online and distance education. The college's focus on preparing the world's future leaders, innovators and difference-makers has led to several innovative programs for students including Justin Smith Morrill Scholars, CASNR CARES, Dean’s Scholars in Experiential Leadership, the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program and Ensuring Your Future.

Waller, a Midwest native, received an associate of science degree in 1967 from Vincennes University, where he studied pre-forestry; a bachelor of science degree in conservation in 1970 from Purdue University; and a doctorate in range science in 1975 from Texas A&M University. Waller was a faculty member in the animal science department at South Dakota State University before coming to the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at Nebraska in 1978.

Until 2000, Waller held joint administrative appointments with CASNR and the Agriculture Research Division, while continuing his affiliation with the agronomy department. His research and teaching responsibilities at the university emphasized range management and improvement, livestock management on range and pasture, and forage evaluation.

The Center for Grassland Studies was formed in 1994. Its mission is to implement focused, interdisciplinary research, educational and service programs and activities that emphasize the role of grasslands as a natural resource and conservation measure to enhance the efficiency, profitability, sustainability and aesthetic value of grasslands, wetlands and turfs. The center administers two multi-disciplinary undergraduate majors – grazing livestock systems and PGA golf management. It also organizes the annual Nebraska Grazing Conference and provides support for multi-disciplinary and multi-state research projects.

To celebrate Waller's accomplishments during his time as dean, CASNR is planning two special events. CASNR students are invited to "Dead Week Doughnuts with the Dean" from 3 to 5 p.m. April 27 in the Nebraska East Union. The public is invited to an open house celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. June 23 at the Nebraska East Union. Further details will be posted at http://casnr.unl.edu.

IANR Media