The Utah State Board of Regents recently appointed a Utah State University faculty member, David Woolstenhulme, as interim commissioner of higher education.
Woolstenhulme, chosen during the board’s meeting at Snow College in Ephraim, will replace David L. Buhler on July 1 as Buhler will go on to teach political science classes at University of Utah.
“I am honored to be selected as Interim Commissioner,” Woolstenhulme stated in a press release Friday. “I have been fortunate to serve in many positions in higher education in Utah throughout my career. Above all, I find no greater satisfaction than seeing our students succeed.”
Woolstenhulme is currently the vice president of regional campuses at USU, a role he assumed in August 2018.
Buhler became Utah’s eighth commissioner in June 2012, after serving for 12 years as associate commissioner. He announced in early 2019 that he would be ending his service in June.
“We also want to thank Commissioner Buhler for his seven years as commissioner and 19 total years working for the Utah System of Higher Education,” stated Harris H. Simmons, chair of the Board of Regents, in the press release.
“He has steered the Board through a strategic planning process and taken on tough issues like college completion and access,” Simmons stated. “We wish him well as he concludes his service as commissioner and begins teaching at the University of Utah.”
Woolstenhulme has overseen the nonacademic operations of USU Distance locations, including budget, recruitment and facilities. Woolstenhulme has served as USU’s regional vice provost and president of Uintah Basin Applied Technology College. He has two degrees from USU and a doctorate from the University of Wyoming.
Woolstenhulme stated in a release that he looks forward to working with the board, institutional presidents and other state leaders to champion higher education in Utah and work to address the most pressing issues over the next year.
“The Board and the Utah System of Higher Education are fortunate that Dr. Woolstenhulme is willing to step into the role of interim commissioner,” Simmons stated in the release. “He is a respected academic administrator with a strong commitment to students, and his deep understanding of post-secondary education governance in Utah will serve the Board well during this time of transition.”
The USHE is governed by the Board of Regents, which is made up of representatives from Utah’s eight public universities. The hunt for a new commissioner will begin in 2020.