Maribeth Watwood, chair of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, has accepted an appointment as dean of the Graduate College, Provost Laura Huenneke announced today.

Watwood will begin her new role Dec. 29, filling the vacancy created when then-dean Ramona Mellott moved to become dean of the College of Education.

After earning tenure and then promotion to professor during 12 years on the faculty at Idaho State University, Watwood joined NAU in 2003. She has served as department chair in Biological Sciences since 2006.

“I am grateful that Dr. Watwood has agreed to bring her insights into graduate education and her leadership experience to the position,” Huenneke said. “I’m confident she will work actively and constructively across all graduate programs, including professional degree programs and those offered through Extended Campuses.”

Huenneke cited Watwood’s recent record of leadership in the Academic Chairs Council, the Strategic Planning and Budget Council, the Northern Arizona chapter of Sigma Xi (a scientific research honor society) and similar service and professional roles.

Watwood has brought external funding to the university for both research and educational programs, and is an active and engaged mentor of both undergraduate and graduate research students. Her role as principal investigator of the NSF-funded “Integrative Bioscience: Genes to Environment” project greatly expanded the university’s capacity to provide cutting-edge interdisciplinary training for doctoral students across multiple fields.