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Benner named dean of the College of Innovation and Design

Boise State University has named Shawn Benner the dean of the College of Innovation and Design.

“Our College of Innovation and Design is truly unique and finding the right leader is critically important to both drive and support innovation at Boise State. Our search last year for an interim dean yielded impressive candidates. To have a dean who also is a talented and collaborative researcher and faculty member take on this responsibility will extend the reach and impact of CID’s important work,” said Dr. Marlene Tromp, Boise State president. “Dr. Benner’s creativity, energy and commitment will elevate the innovation occurring across our entire campus community, and he will serve as a leader on this front for all of Boise State.”

Benner has served as CID’s interim dean since May 2022, and previously served as associate dean of the college from August 2018-April 2022. The mission of the College of Innovation and Design is to help build the future university in a time of unprecedented change.

Shawn Benner
Shawn Benner, photo by Patrick Sweeney

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to lead the College of Innovation and Design,” Benner said. “I look forward to working with the CID’s incredible faculty and staff and partnering with my colleagues across campus to grow Boise State’s capacity to serve our students, our community and the great State of Idaho.”

Benner received his bachelor of arts from Colorado College, master of science from the University of Montana and his Ph.D. from the University in Waterloo. His scholarship focuses on student-oriented environmental research addressing problems of immediate value to society.

“I have enjoyed working with Dr. Benner and watching him move the College of Innovation and Design forward, and I am excited to continue to work with him as he is named the dean of the college,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Buckwalter.

Prior to joining CID, Benner was a faculty in geosciences, where he taught courses in hydrology, helping train Idaho’s future water resource scientists and managers. Benner also helped build the innovative “sophomore core” undergraduate curriculum in geosciences, increasing major recruitment and retention.

As a scholar, Benner authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and remains among Boise State’s highest cited faculty. He was the Boise State lead on the multi-institutional, $25 million Idaho NSF-EPSCoR Program, managed the Trace Analytical Facility, and co-founded the Human-Environment Systems program. Prior to joining Boise State, he was a postdoc at Stanford University and research scientist at the University of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute.