Howard accepted the position this week, a few days after university regents unanimously approved a policy exemption that allowed President Garrey Carruthers to hire Howard without launching a national search.
Howard, who is currently dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado, Denver, taught at NMSU for 20 years before leaving for Colorado. His salary at NMSU will be $285,000 annually, the university said.
“Dan Howard is an outstanding academic,” Carruthers said in the news release. “He is a premier scholar and the exact person I was looking for to help lead this university to an even higher level.”
Regents last week unanimously granted Carruthers an exception to the policy that calls for a national search in the hiring of a provost. Carruthers already had Howard, a finalist for the NMSU presidency this year, in mind, and lobbied for his immediate hiring.
“The principal reason (for not launching a provost search) is we just completed a quite comprehensive, one of the most sophisticated searches in NMSU history,” Carruthers said last week of the recent presidential search.
Carruthers said he wanted to hire someone who has New Mexico ties.
Howard was a professor and administrator at NMSU, starting off as an assistant professor in biology and eventually becoming an interim dean for research at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. He was also a regents professor. In a statement, Howard said he and his wife, pediatrician Jenifer Lichtenfels, were happy to return to Las Cruces and NMSU.
“I look forward to working with Garrey and my many friends and colleagues across the institution to advance New Mexico State University. Although this is a challenging time for public higher education, NMSU’s strong tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and service will serve it well as we work together to position the university as the university of choice in New Mexico and beyond,” Howard said.