Keith Goyne has been appointed associate dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. He brings a background of academic leadership, excellence in teaching and advising, and robust research and scholarship to the position, as well as a personal commitment to the educational goals of land-grant universities.

“We are very fortunate to have Keith join our leadership team in this new role,” said Paul M. Winistorfer, dean of the college. “I am looking forward to having a senior partner join me in helping the college continue on the great path we are on. Keith has a proven track record of successful and positive engagement, and I don’t think we could have found a better fit for this new position.”

The associate dean will be a strategic partner and advisor to the dean, responsible for establishing and executing short- and long-term goals and initiatives, including support of the college’s new advising center, enrollment management, diversity and inclusion, research portfolio and analysis, and the alignment of all functions with the college’s priorities, goals, and initiatives.

“Keith will be of tremendous help to our department heads, faculty, staff, and students in assisting with many operational and tactical responsibilities,” Winistorfer said. “His responsibilities will cross the boundaries of our work in teaching, research, and outreach.”

Goyne, who will begin his new position in January, said, “I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to become a part of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. The college is extremely well-regarded around the country and the world, and to have the opportunity to serve the faculty, staff, and students at Virginia Tech is very valuable to me.”

Goyne’s background is in soil science, and his research in the field has centered on understanding the fate and transport of contaminants in the environment and the anthropogenic effects of humans on soil health. He has taught classes in environmental science, pollutant transport, and soil chemistry. He holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

As a graduate of a land-grant university, Goyne knows first-hand the impact that these schools can have on students.

“If it were not for the land-grant system, I would not have been able to go to college,” Goyne said. “It provided an opportunity for me, as a first-generation college student from rural Pennsylvania, to break out of a cycle that is persistent in rural mountain communities. I’ve tried to pay that back in my work and pass the opportunity forward to the next generations.”

Goyne will come to Virginia Tech from the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources, where he is associate director and professor of soil and environmental sciences. His aspiration for his new position is to help improve connections for students and faculty.

“I want to enhance our connections with employers so that we can increase the number of students who are obtaining jobs after graduation,” he explained. “On the research side, I hope to work with faculty to enhance their ability to go after larger grants, particularly the collaborative grants that exist in funding agencies today. How we can create and foster those collaborative relationships is an area where I’d like to put emphasis and focus.”

Goyne is also excited by the opportunity to work closely with undergraduates, particularly those from nontraditional backgrounds. As a first-generation college student, he is aware of the challenges that students face in navigating the university system.

“I think it’s important to have faculty who can consider what it’s like to be a first-generation college student, and who can set up programs to help students from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities navigate the university system,” he said. “I benefited significantly from individuals who helped me, and one thing I’m thrilled about is being in a position where I can assist the undergraduate and graduate programs in helping students reach their academic and professional goals.”

Goyne’s commitment to encouraging and guiding students is evident. He was nominated for the University of Missouri’s excellence in advising award four times and received an outstanding undergraduate advising award in 2014. He has facilitated workshops on the subject of underrepresented and international students and was co-organizer of a diversity and inclusion workshop in 2016.

Goyne is looking forward to his move to the New River Valley and to becoming an active member of the Blacksburg community.

“I grew up in the Appalachia, and to get back to the mountains is really wonderful,” Goyne said. “I love being able to see the mountains on the horizon, and I enjoy the recreational aspects they provide. I look forward to living in Blacksburg and becoming a part of the community.”