A Message from the Chair
Welcome to the 2006 ASU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry newsletter. This time we are experimenting with a new electronic format. As always, we invite your feedback and ask for any news of you for future newsletters.
We have an outstanding group of eight new faculty in the department who joined us during the 2005-06 academic year or will join this coming year. Four new faculty joined the department during 2005-06. Jeff Yarger is an NMR specroscopist, Janet Bond-Robinson is a chemical educator, Ulrich Haussermann is an inorganic/materials chemist and Marcia Levitus is a biophysical chemist. We also have four new faculty members who will join us during the 2006-07 academic year. Marc Porter is an analytical chemist, Anne Jones is a bioinorganic chemist, Arjan van der Vaart is a theoretical biophysicist and Andrew Chizmeshya is a computational materials chemist. Profiles of each of them appear elsewhere in this newsletter.
I am very pleased to announce that the Arizona Board of Regents voted to approve MS and PhD degrees in Biochemistry at its meeting on June 22, 2006. These degrees are designed for students whose research is in biochemically oriented areas and who wish to have their degree in Biochemistry instead of Chemistry. The Biochemistry degrees will be administered by the department alongside the existing Chemistry degrees. We anticipate that many research groups will have some students enrolled in both Chemistry and Biochemistry degree programs, which will further enhance the already very strong interdisciplinary flavor of the department.
The department has continued to grow in almost all measures. We had about 550 undergraduate majors enrolled in our degree programs in 2005-06 and the preliminary numbers for next year suggest that we will grow significantly beyond that. The graduate student headcount for 2005-06 was 140, which is up significantly from our long-term average of about 100. The number of tenure-track faculty will be 50 for the fall 06 semester, which is a substantial increase from the number of 35 that we had for many years. Our research expenditures from external grants and contracts have continued to increase steeply as well, and this year are nearly $10 M.
This year we honored many of our undergraduate majors at our annual awards ceremony. There were so many truly outstanding students that we had a very difficult time deciding on many of the award winners.Here I just call attention to two of our Biochemistry majors, Shannon Fortin and James Cronican, who won extremely prestigious national awards by being named as Goldwater Scholars. Each university is permitted only four Goldwater nominations. This year for the first time all four ASU nominees won awards, and two of the four are from our department. A complete list of all the award winners is given later in this newsletter.
This will be my last message as Chair, as my four-year term ends June 30. I have enjoyed helping take the department to the new level that it now occupies. Bill Petuskey will serve as Interim Chair for next year while a search for an external chair is carried out. Jim Allen will be the Interim Associate Chair. I am confident that they will both do an outstanding job of leading the department. In addition to stepping down as Chair, I will also be leaving ASU this August to take a faculty position at Washington University in St. Louis. I will greatly miss all my wonderful colleagues and other friends here at ASU.
No newsletter would be complete without a request for financial support. We have a critical need for unrestricted funds that we can use for a number of purposes, including awards and entertainment of students and visitors. Any contributions will be gratefully accepted, but we want to hear from you in any case. We also invite you to visit the departmental website at http://chemistry.asu.edu/, which contains more information on our faculty and programs and up-to-date news from the Department. There is a special Alumni section that includes electronic copies of past newsletters and other news about alums. We would also like to hear more about you and your career since leaving ASU. The Alumni section of the website includes a link to submit information about yourself.