Kinucan exits provost position at Sul Ross

ALPINE — Robert Kinucan is stepping down as a provost at Sul Ross State University. News of the resignation, which officially took effect on Monday, first came from an email sent out to Sul Ross faculty and staff last week.

“I have resigned as provost as of March 1,” Kinucan wrote. “It has been an honor serving as provost at Sul Ross for the past year and a half.”

“I enjoyed the opportunity to work with many of you over the years and look forward to continuing to do so,” he added. He noted that he was returning to a full-time faculty position in the Department of Natural Resource Management, where he had worked as a full-time professor starting in 1999, focused primarily on range animal science and rangeland ecology and management.

In a later statement, Sul Ross administration confirmed the news. Kinucan had “given the vast majority of his professional career to the betterment of Sul Ross State University,” university president Pete Gallego said, highlighting his role in helping to create the School of Agricultural Natural Resource Sciences and the STEM college.

Kinucan’s “visionary approach” as a school administrator helped keep SRSU students “on the cutting edge of learning,” Gallego said. But Kinucan’s “first love has always been the classroom,” and he wanted to get back to teaching.

“While he will be missed as an administrator, we are glad that students will once again have the benefit of his knowledge, wisdom and experience in the classroom beginning next fall,” Gallego added in his statement. But first, he said, Kinucan had a “well-deserved and long-delayed vacation coming.”

Kinucan’s resignation towards the start of the spring semester prompted chatter in Alpine and at Sul Ross about an administrative shake-up. The school is potentially facing big changes on its horizon, including a bill filed by new state senator Roland Gutierrez to transfer SRSU from the Texas State University System to the Texas A&M System.

But in an interview last week, Kinucan confirmed what SRSU administration was saying: that he was just ready to get back to teaching and would return to the classroom for the fall semester. He will also be serving as a special assistant to the provost for the remainder of the academic year.

“I’ve always anticipated going back to teaching at the end of my administrative career,” Kinucan said. After 25 years in administration, he was ready for a change.

Asked about the timing of his exit, Kinucan said it was “maybe not totally typical, but it’s not unheard of or unusual.” And especially with a new administration — President Pete Gallego was officially confirmed by the board of regents last summer — it was “not uncommon” for “transitions to take place.”

“The timing is not necessarily what I would have anticipated,” Kinucan added. “But I do look forward to going back to teaching.” And nonetheless, he said he was ready for the change.

Kinucan has spent the majority of his career at Sul Ross, with most of those in administration. After brief stints as an instructor and researcher at Texas A&M and USDA Agricultural Research Service, he took an assistant professor job at Sul Ross in 1988.

After achieving tenure, Kinucan was promoted to an associate professor in 1994. In 1999, he became a full professor. Around the same time, he also joined the school administration.

Kinucan became director of the Division of Range Animal Science at Sul Ross in 1996, then the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in 1999. He became a provost in 2017 and was hired as an executive vice president and provost at the school in 2019.