Dean's MessageAs the new dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, it is my great privilege to welcome you to this edition of Journey magazine. I joined COSAM officially in August, so I am just beginning the process of meeting the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other friends of COSAM. I have been very impressed by all of the great work being done by the folks in COSAM, a small portion of which is described in this magazine.
I have been spending much of my time this fall getting to know COSAM, and I am sure that the folks in COSAM are also curious to learn about me. I come to Auburn from Purdue University, where I served as a professor and, most recently, as head of the Department of Physics. My research has spanned a number of areas including condensed matter physics, nanoscience, computational physics, science education, the neuroscience of learning and memory, and the physics of the piano and other musical instruments. I have also had a strong commitment to the classroom and have written several textbooks. This experience has given me a deep appreciation and commitment to the core missions of COSAM and Auburn University. Indeed, I am eager to get to work in helping COSAM meet the challenges of improving the way we serve our students, building a stronger research enterprise, working with K-12 students and science educators across the state of Alabama, and partnering with alumni and other friends through our outreach activities.
Greetings to all in the COSAM Family. By the time you read this missive, I already will have returned to my faculty office in Petrie Hall and begun the process of recharging my professorial batteries. I will certainly enjoy renewed interaction with students in the Department of Geology and Geography, a greater presence in the classroom, laboratory, and field, and, yes, the far less frequent need to don a jacket and tie. However, I also know that I will sorely miss the broader leadership role that I have been so fortunate to play for the College of Sciences and Mathematics for nearly three years.
As exemplified by many of those featured in this issue of Journey, COSAM students, faculty, staff, and alumni are collectively outstanding, and to work with all of these constituents has been an honor and without question the highlight of my career. Students featured in these pages, including the 2013 Dean’s Medalists and the COSAM Leaders, are but a small representation of the larger COSAM student body that has embraced the tenets outlined in the Auburn Creed, most importantly the principle of hard work. Similarly, the newly named endowed professors, teaching award recipients, award-winning advisors, and others that you will read about herein represent just a small fraction of the roughly 250 exceptional faculty and staff members who work so hard to advance the instructional, research, and outreach missions of the college. Also reflected in this issue, our alumni continue to do great things that heighten COSAM’s reputation and, by their generous gifts, empower current students, faculty, and staff. For these reasons, I am proud to be part of, and to have been of service to, COSAM.