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Bott-Knutson named dean of Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College

Fishback Honors College Dean Rebecca Bott-Knutson
Rebecca Bott-Knutson

Rebecca Bott-Knutson, interim dean of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, has been named dean full time following a national search. Bott-Knutson has served in the interim role since July 2016.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Bott-Knutson has been named dean of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “We have experienced tremendous momentum in the Fishback Honors College the past several years. Rebecca embraced the role of dean on an interim basis and continued that momentum, while also separating herself during a very competitive interview process. I am excited for the future of the college and welcome Rebecca to this position.”

Bott-Knutson has been overseeing a college with more than 800 students and the honors course offerings and co-curricular program in partnership with honors faculty. Her efforts resulted in the largest graduating class from honors this past year. The college continues to exceed its strategic honors course enrollment target of 750 students as part of the university’s current strategic plan, IMPACT 2018.

In addition, Bott-Knutson started the “What’s Next?” program to help prepare students for life after graduation. Inspired by honors students, the program fosters collaborative relationships across campus with honors alumni and community leaders. The students explore various academic, career and service opportunities to envision life after graduation.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me, both personally and professionally,” Bott-Knutson said. “It is rewarding to work with students and faculty from every discipline across campus and create a vibrant learning experience that stretches each of us to learn new things and to embrace diverse perspectives, cultures and experiences. Helping students reach their greatest potential, become the leaders of tomorrow and impact society is a driving force of higher education and a key part of the mission of South Dakota State University and of the Fishback Honors College.”

Bott-Knutson began her tenure at State in January 2009 as an associate professor and has held appointments in teaching, research and Extension within the animal science department. She was the first Timothy J. Nichols Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising recipient at the 2015 Celebration of Faculty Excellence and presented at the Sewrey Lecture at the 2016 event.

Bott-Knutson holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Colorado State University, a master’s in animal science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a bachelor’s in the same field from the University of Missouri-Columbia.