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K-State Today

May 7, 2013

Making a difference: Moxley's service, contributions extend past job as dean of human ecology

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Virgina Moxley

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.

A reception in her honor, which is open to the public, will be in Hoffman Lounge in Justin Hall from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 9. A short program will begin at 4 p.m.

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 Kansas State University 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."

The dean always advises freshmen to arrive on campus with a computer, a bicycle and a passport.

"We know that graduates need to be technologically savvy, physically fit and culturally competent to succeed in the professions for which this college prepares them," she said. Moxley advocates international experiences for students to study topics as diverse as the built environment, cuisine, couture design, human justice and conflict resolution.

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 jenniferr@found.ksu.edu.