Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gopher Becomes Boilermaker

University of Minnesota chemistry department chair to become dean of College of Science at Purdue.

From BoilerStation:

Purdue Names [U of M] Chemist New Science Dean

It's a plum job. That is what University of Minnesota's Jeffrey Roberts is saying about being named the next dean of Purdue University's College of Science.

Roberts, whose own research includes aerosol surface chemistry, has been at the University of Minnesota since 1990 and directed the University of Minnesota Research Site for Educators in Chemistry, a National Science Foundation-supported initiative, from 2001 to 2007.

Question: Why are you leaving University of Minnesota and coming to Purdue?

Answer: Purdue is a superb institution, with a long-standing commitment to excellence in the STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- disciplines. President Córdova and the board of trustees have an exciting new strategic plan. To be dean of science at Purdue is to have a plum job, so it was not a hard decision to make.

Q: What is it about the STEM education that is so attractive?

A: Economic success in the 21st century is going to require that students be well trained in the STEM disciplines. It is going to be essential for the economy of Indiana and for the nation as a whole.

Q: As you know, Purdue has the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Will you be working with them?

A: I am excited to get on campus and get to know the researchers in the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Research will still be a part of what I do, even though I expect to be mighty busy as dean.

Q: Are there any changes you are planning to make at the college or continue on its current path?

A: I need to spend time getting to know the college better.

Q: You were awarded the Special Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation in 2003. What is that?

A: That award is given by the National Science Foundation to funded researchers whose work is judged to be moving in unusually exciting or creative directions. It happened when I began working in aerosol chemistry.

Q: Outside of the academics, what is your family looking forward to?

A: Oh, just fitting in to West Lafayette. We are excited to attend some of the Convocations events. My youngest daughter wants to go to some Boilermaker games. We're interested in finding out more about the farmers markets. We just want to fit in.

Ouch! Wouldn't you like to hear a conversation like this involving one of our administrators? Jeff will do a helluva job at Purdue.

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