Don BenderDon Bender has been named as interim dean for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture effective August 16.

He replaces Candis Claiborn, who is stepping down from the position that she has held for a decade to return to her faculty position in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

With WSU since 1997, Bender is the Weyerhaeuser Distinguished professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Composite Materials and Engineering Center (CMEC). His research interests include engineering analysis and design of timber structures; deck safety; laboratory testing and analysis of engineered wood components; composite materials, connections and assemblies; post-frame construction; nondestructive evaluation of wood materials; wood durability; and building envelopes. He led efforts to change national building codes to improve deck safety, and is active in revising the national timber design code and consensus standards promulgated by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

Bender has won numerous awards, including two awards from the post-frame building industry and six national awards for journal articles. He also received the Voiland College’s outstanding teaching faculty award as well as a departmental outstanding faculty award. He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University and earned his master’s and bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech University.

“With his longtime experience as a faculty member and CMEC director, Dr. Bender has tremendous knowledge of the college and the university,” said WSU Provost Daniel J. Bernardo. “He is well-prepared to guide the college and to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership. We greatly appreciate his willingness to serve in this position.”

A national search for a new dean is underway. For questions regarding the search, contact the Office of the Provost at or 509-335-5581.