Lise Youngblade, head of Colorado State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, has been named dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Beginning Aug. 5, Youngblade will succeed Jeff McCubbin, who announced at the beginning of the fall semester that he would step down after this academic year.
“I’m delighted that one of our longstanding campus leaders will be taking up the dean’s position in CHHS,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda. “Dr. Youngblade has done an incredible job at the helm of Human Development and Family Studies, lifting that department’s research reputation and developing valuable and attractive programs for thousands of students. She will bring all those talents to her new role as dean, and I look forward to working closely with her in the coming years.”
Youngblade was chosen from among several highly qualified candidates who were considered during a national search. College of Business Dean Beth Walker chaired the search committee.
“I was honored to serve as search chair for this important position, and appreciated the opportunity to work with such a thoughtful and dedicated set of colleagues who served on the search committee,” Walker said. “Lise brings an exceptional set of experiences and credentials to this role. Given her appreciation for cross-disciplinary connections, she will be a terrific leader for the college, as well as a wonderful collaborator and partner with the other colleges across campus.”
“My thanks goes out to the search committee,” Miranda said. “The committee’s hard work and dedication resulted in the recruitment of outstanding finalists for the position.”
Associate dean posts
In addition to serving as department head since 2006, Youngblade served as the associate dean for research for the college from 2013 to 2015. Since 2015, a portion of her time has also been devoted to the role of associate dean for strategic initiatives in the college. In addition, she serves as interim director of the Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging.
“I am so honored to be selected as the next dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences,” Youngblade said. “The college is well-poised for the future, and I am very grateful to Dean McCubbin for his inspirational leadership over the past eight years, and for the many ways that he has supported growth in all parts of our mission.”
Last year, Youngblade received the 2018 Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes faculty for continuing meritorious and outstanding achievement. She was nominated for the award by several of her fellow department heads in the college.
“Our college is at the forefront of education, discovery and engagement in optimizing the health, well-being and positive development of people and communities,” Youngblade said. “I could not be more excited about this opportunity to work with our outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. Together, we can strategically and inclusively envision and achieve our next academic, research and community engagement milestones.”
In her time at CSU, Youngblade has helped transform the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in several areas. Through increased grant funding and financial support from entrepreneurial programs, the department’s budget has increased from $2 million to $8 million during her tenure. Annual research spending in the unit has risen from $500,000 in 2007 to about $3 million, and the number of tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty positions has significantly increased on her watch.
She worked with the department to nearly double undergraduate enrollment, and HDFS is currently the fourth-largest major on campus. She helped create multiple degrees in the department, including a Ph.D. program in applied developmental science, an M.S. in prevention science, a B.S. in early childhood education, and the institution’s first fully online four-year bachelor’s degree through CSU Online. Diversity in the program has also grown, along with the number of first-generation students, and retention and graduation rates for the unit have seen a dramatic increase.
Youngblade worked to secure the new location for the Early Childhood Center, working with faculty, donors and other key players to facilitate a $4.6 million renovation of the historic Fort Collins Washington School building. Youngblade has also played a key role in the success of the nationally award-winning Campus Connections youth mentoring program.
“Lise Youngblade will be an outstanding dean,” McCubbin said. “The HDFS department has been transformed under her leadership. In her roles as associate dean, she has been a key person for me in discussing the variety of challenges that come to the dean’s office. She understands the college, and will help advocate for the future growth of people and programs across CSU.”
Youngblade was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Portland, Oregon. A first-generation college student, she says her deep appreciation for the value of education was instilled in her by an aunt and uncle, college professors who helped raise her after her parents died when she was young. She also credits her parents, neither of whom went to college, for her commitment to work to improve the lives of others. Even though her parents had relatively low-income jobs, Youngblade says, her optician father would regularly give glasses to those who couldn’t afford them, and her mother was a public health visiting nurse who often delivered homemade meals to patients during home visits.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but I grew up with the values of the land-grant mission: a passion for education that is available to all and a commitment to community engagement,” she says. “These values have guided my career, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work at CSU, a premier land-grant university that is committed to the best of these ideals.”
Youngblade came to CSU from the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she was a professor in the Department of Pediatrics from 2001 to 2006 and associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy the last three of those years.
Youngblade earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon and her master’s and Ph.D. in human development and family studies, both from Penn State University.
She is married to Manfred Diehl, University Distinguished Professor in Human Development and Family Studies, and both are members of the Colorado School of Public Health. They have two sons, Eric, 26, and Christopher, 21.