College of Natural Resources and Environment Dean Paul Winistorfer has appointed Steve McMullin of Radford, Va., as interim head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. McMullin, an associate professor and 24-year veteran of the department, has served as associate department head for the past seven years.

“Dr. McMullin is a trusted leader who will lead the department through a transition period as we begin a search for a permanent department head,” said Winistorfer. “Steve’s background in the human dimensions is ideally suited to working with the faculty, staff, students, and college leadership to continue the department’s forward momentum. I am most appreciative of his willingness to assume this important leadership role.”

McMullin specializes in the human dimensions, policy, and administration of natural resource management and is director of the college’s Leadership Institute for select juniors and seniors.

“My primary focus will be to facilitate faculty development of a strategic hiring plan to position our department to meet high priority future needs,” McMullin said. “We need to think strategically about the types of expertise required to maintain a world-class fish and wildlife conservation program as we conduct an external search for a new department head and prepare to replace six faculty members as they retire within the decade.”

McMullin has devoted much of his research and teaching in recent years to the areas of generational change and workforce planning, and has been developing the leadership skills of natural resources professionals for more than 20 years.

He teaches the senior-level undergraduate course Human Dimensions of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the graduate-level course Leadership and Communications for Natural Resource Professionals. He also teaches or coordinates continuing education courses for natural resource professionals and has generated tools and processes for assessing management effectiveness that have been used by nearly half of the nation’s state fish and wildlife agencies.

McMullin holds a doctorate in fisheries and wildlife sciences from Virginia Tech and both a master’s and a bachelor’s in fishery resources from the University of Idaho.

Prior to earning his doctorate, he spent 12 years with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving as biologist, regional fisheries manager, and chief of the Montana Fisheries Management Bureau. He developed a participatory approach to public involvement in fisheries management planning that dramatically changed the way the agency subsequently approached its stakeholders.

McMullin follows Eric Hallerman, who stepped down as department head after serving for six years. “Eric has done an outstanding job of leading the department these past years,” Winistorfer said.

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