Published: Oct. 22, 2019

Provost Russell Moore today announced he has named Keith Molenaar interim dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), effective in January 2020. 

Keith MolenaarMolenaar, who currently serves as associate dean for research in the college, will succeed Bobby Braun, who announced last month his plan to leave CU Boulder in January to accept an executive post at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located at the California Institute of Technology. 

“Keith’s leadership of CEAS’s research mission, his excellence as a scholar and teacher, and his long association with the college—going back to his undergraduate days at CU Boulder—ensure the continued course of distinction that Bobby Braun has set for the college,” Moore said. 

Moore said that course includes “a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusive excellence for the student body, faculty and staff.” 

Moore added that Molenaar’s administrative service under Braun and his predecessor, Rob Davis, give him a “firm anchoring in the strategic relationships the college will need to maintain, and the processes we need to continue within the college, while we seek a new dean.”  

“I have complete confidence in Keith Molenaar’s ability to lead our college forward in the coming months,” Braun said. “Keith has been an active and effective leader in establishing and advancing our college’s strategic vision over these past three years. I will begin working with him immediately to implement a seamless transition.”

Moore also announced that he had named E. Scott Adler, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for Graduate Affairs, as chair of the committee that will conduct a national search for Braun’s successor. Moore said he is accepting nominations for the search committee until 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28. Those interested in volunteering or recommending a search committee member can do so by sending an email to

Moore said he would, in the coming weeks, “announce to the campus the membership of the search committee and a timeline for the delivery of finalists.”

Molenaar said that as interim dean, he would “make the continued strengthening of our college community the focus of our work and of my decisions as interim dean.”  

“I believe that the college is extraordinary because our community provides a unique environment for learning,” Molenaar said. “As interim dean, I will listen to the aspirations and concerns of our faculty, staff and students and support them in achieving their goals, while continuing to build on the vision Bobby established.”

Molenaar is the K. Stanton Lewis Professor of Construction Engineering and Management in CEAS. He received his doctoral and master’s degrees in civil engineering from CU Boulder, and his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering also from CU Boulder. After a brief but successful appointment as an assistant professor at The Georgia Institute of Technology, Keith returned to CU Boulder in 1999 as assistant professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering.

Among his many awards are a Fulbright Scholarship in 2006–07 and the Toulmin Medal, awarded by the Society of American Military Engineers in 2003. He was named to the Pan-American Academy of Engineering in 2012 and the National Academy of Construction in 2017. He will be recognized as a fellow of the Design-Build Institute of America this November.

Some of his CU Boulder awards include campus Global Citizen of the Year in 2017; Excellence in Leadership Fellow in 2010–11; the Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award in 2006; and the CEAE Young Researcher Award in 2002.