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Dr. John Ferraris Appointed Interim Dean of UTD's
Nationwide Search Under Way to Find
RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 28, 2003) - Dr. John Ferraris, head of the chemistry department and a longtime faculty member at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has been appointed interim dean of UTD's School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NS&M) while the university conducts a nationwide search for a replacement for Dr. Richard Caldwell, who resigned the deanship at the end of the 2002-2003 academic year after holding the position for the past six years and for four years in the 1980's.
Ferraris emphasized that he would oversee the operation of NS&M only until a replacement for Caldwell was hired and said he would not be a candidate for the permanent position. The 62-year-old Caldwell, who joined UTD in 1971, will remain at the university in a teaching capacity and will perform research and work on special projects.
UTD President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer praised Caldwell for the "many outstanding contributions he made as dean of one of the university's seven schools" and said the appointment of Ferraris as interim dean would ensure that the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics had "continued strong leadership while UTD takes the time necessary to find the best possible person for this critically important position."
A search committee, under the leadership of Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of UTD's School of Management, has been at work identifying and interviewing candidates for the NS&M deanship since last spring, when Caldwell let it be known he intended to step down. After reviewing the committee's preliminary findings, Jenifer praised the panel's work but requested that its members extend their search until the end of the fall semester in order to present a larger number of top-rated candidates from which he could appoint a new dean.
Ferraris, 56, who holds a master's degree in chemistry and a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, joined UTD in 1975 as an assistant professor. He took over as head of the chemistry department in 1995. Two years ago, he won the prestigious W. T. Doherty Award from the Dallas-Fort Worth Section of the American Chemical Society. The award recognizes significant achievement in research, teaching and service - in Ferraris' case, his work in the field of conducting polymers for energy storage, light emission, electrochromism and membrane separations.
NS&M has grown dramatically in recent years and has taken an increasingly interdisciplinary approach to scholarship. Areas of focus include space sciences, nanotechnology, geosciences and sickle cell disease research as well as more traditional disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics. One of the school's faculty members is Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, co-winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Under the terms of an agreement announced on June 30 involving Texas Instruments and the State of Texas, UTD expects to build a 200,000-square-foot Natural Science and Engineering Research Building and Technology Accelerator, equipped with the latest laboratories and equipment, on campus in the next few years. Caldwell is expected to play a key role in the planning for the new building.
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