Longtime Aggie David R. Woolstenhulme has been appointed as commissioner by the newly formed Utah Board of Higher Education. Since May 2019, Woolstenhulme has served as interim commissioner for the Utah System of Higher Education.
The Board of Higher Education, which replaces both the Utah Board of Regents and the Utah Technical Colleges Board of Trustees, appointed Woolstenhulme during its inaugural meeting Wednesday, July 1. He succeeds Commissioner David L. Buhler, who retired in 2019.
“I have had the great pleasure of serving as Interim Commissioner of Higher Education over the last year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with the Board, System presidents and state leaders in this capacity to ensure higher education is accessible, affordable and meaningful for all Utahns,” Woolstenhulme said. “With our newly combined System, we have a unique opportunity to help students identify and succeed in their higher education pathway, whether that be at a technical college, a degree-granting institution, or a combination of the two.”
Prior to his interim appointment in 2019, Woolstenhulme served as vice president of statewide campuses for Utah State University, a position he held since 2018. In that role, he was responsible for the non-academic operations of statewide campuses, including facilities, budget, recruitment and enrollment management.
“Dr. Woolstenhulme is the perfect person for this important new position,” said USU President Noelle E. Cockett. “Dave’s extensive experience across all levels of post-secondary education will serve students well as Utah looks to merge all of the higher education opportunities into one domain. Dave has had active leadership roles in both Utah systems, and I can’t think of anyone more capable of blending these programs to make them more accessible and more efficient.”
Cockett said Woolstenhulme has proven himself to be a highly engaged and competent leader in many positions at USU, and he will bring that same demonstrated commitment to this statewide oversight position.
“Of course we are proud that he comes with a rich USU heritage and Aggie blood, but his passion truly is for people throughout the state wherever they choose to seek educational opportunity,” she said. “We are lucky as a state system to have him as our leadership voice.”
Woolstenhulme returned to USU in July 2018 following his tenure as commissioner of the Utah System of Technical Colleges where he led eight regional technical colleges throughout the state of Utah: Bridgerland Technical College, Davis Technical College, Dixie Technical College, Mountainland Technical College, Ogden-Weber Technical College, Tooele Technical College, Southwest Technical College and Uintah Basin Technical College.
Prior to his role at the Utah System of Technical Colleges, Woolstenhulme served as USU’s vice provost of Regional Campuses from 2012-14. He was also a long-time Jon M. Huntsman School of Business faculty member at the Uintah Basin Regional Campus.
Woolstenhulme holds a bachelor’s and a master’s from USU and a doctorate from the University of Wyoming.
The new 18-member Utah Board of Higher Education was created through legislation to govern all Utah technical colleges and degree-granting colleges and universities.
The new unified system includes 16 institutions: Bridgerland Technical College, Davis Technical College, Dixie State University, Dixie Technical College, Mountainland Technical College, Ogden-Weber Technical College, Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University, Southwest Technical College, Tooele Technical College, Uintah Basin Technical College, the University of Utah, Utah State University, Utah Valley University and Weber State University.
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