Keith Molenaar’s interim term started on Monday, January 13, 2020. From a transition perspective, Molenaar offers consistency and continuity when it comes to the college, campus and university vision. He is part of CU President Mark Kennedy’s Leaning into the Future strategic planning committee and served on the Strategic Vision committee that recently departed Dean Bobby Braun enacted in 2017 in addition to serving in a similar role for Dean Emeritus Rob Davis in 2007.
Molenaar said one of his top priorities is maintaining consistency with the goals, vision and culture that Braun implemented over the last three years. While his day job the past three years has been focused on improving the college’s research impact as Associated Den for Research, he said the other pillars of the strategic vision are just as important.
“Embracing our public educational mission is something I feel strongly about, and global engagement has long been a passion of mine,” he said. Molenaar was awarded the CU Campus Global Citizen of the Year Award in 2017. “But one of the things that I really want to focus on is enriching our professional environment. We, as a team, make this a place where you want to work and want to be. I would like us to continue down that path.”
His ties here date back to his time as an undergraduate in architectural engineering in the late 1980s. After working for a successful construction management start-up company, he returned to earn his MS and PhD in civil engineering in 1997. After starting as an assistant professor at Georgia Tech, he took the opportunity to return to the civil engineering faculty at CU Boulder. He became a full professor in 2011.
Molenaar’s teaching and research focus on risk and decision analysis, construction engineering and cost estimating for buildings and infrastructure projects. That has led to work on regional projects such as the skylights over the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to international efforts like the Panama Canal expansion project and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in France — the project he said he’s most proud of in his career.