Montana State University has hired an accomplished teacher and researcher from Texas to lead its graduate programs.

Karlene Hoo, a chemical engineering professor at Texas Tech University, has been named the new dean of MSU's Graduate School, university officials announced Thursday.

Hoo will begin work at MSU on Jan. 1. Her salary will be $160,000 per year.

“A strong graduate program is critical to developing MSU's research agenda,” said MSU Provost Martha Potvin.

Potvin said Hoo is passionate about creating faculty- and student-friendly academic environments and noted Hoo's experience at the National Science Foundation and her administrative philosophy as pluses for MSU.

“Dr. Hoo is an ideal choice to lead graduate education at MSU,” Potvin said.

Hoo began teaching in 1994 in the University of South Carolina's chemical engineering department before joining the faculty at Texas Tech University in 1999. She was later associate dean of research in Texas Tech's College of Engineering before being appointed associate vice president for research in 2006 and then acting vice president for research from 2008 to 2009. Hoo also recently served as a National Science Foundation program director in the Engineering Directorate.

“I am delighted to be a part of the MSU family, and I will work to continue to promote an intellectual environment that will attract and retain the most promising graduate students from across the country,” Hoo said.

Hoo has won numerous awards for excellence in teaching and research, including a Mortar Board award for teaching excellence, the Dow Outstanding New Faculty award for research excellence, and a Texas Tech Halliburton award for teaching excellence.

She has also received several research awards from the National Science Foundation, including the prestigious CAREER award, and has secured research funding from the American Chemical Society, NASA and others.

Hoo earned a doctorate and master's degree from the University of Notre Dame. Her bachelor's degree came from the University of Pennsylvania. She studied chemical engineering for all three.

The Graduate School at MSU offers more than 50 master's programs and 27 doctoral options. This fall, a record 2,030 students enrolled in the university's graduate programs.