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Professor Samuel B. Mukasa Named New CEPS Dean

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 19, 2010

Samuel B. Mukasa

Professor Samuel B. Mukasa, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Michigan, has been named the new dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS). A 1977 graduate of UNH, Mukasa has been at U-M since 1989 and was appointed department chair in 2007. He holds a Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S. in geology from Ohio State University and a B.S. in geology from UNH.

Mukasa received a D.Sc. honorary degree from Nkumba University, Entebbe, Uganda in 2008.

His administrative activities have included chairing the Office of Polar Programs Advisory Board at the National Science Foundation; serving as an advisor to the Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at U-M on issues of gender and race; and serving on a National Academy of Sciences commission to develop protocols through negotiations in international forums to safeguard the pristineness of Antarctic subglacial lakes, which are thought to be repositories of paleoclimate records that go back 30 million years. He is completing his three-year term on the Polar Research Board and was just appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to serve on a committee reviewing the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.

“Dr. Mukasa brings a distinguished record of scholarship as well as significant national and international leadership to the dean’s position.  His experience in developing programs for the National Science Foundation and his extensive contacts in other countries will help to advance the internationalization of our campus, enhance research excellence, and encourage the continued integration of teaching and research,” says University Professor and Provost John Aber. “Dr. Mukasa has set high goals for the college, and it is clear from his work as Chair at the University of Michigan that he has the skills required to help CEPS achieve those goals.”

During his three-year tenure as chair of the Office of Polar Programs Advisory Board, Mukasa helped in the formulation of the $128-million South Pole Redevelopment Project (SPRP), provided critical input on the design and deployment of the $186-million icebreaker USCG Cutter Healy, commissioned for research in the Arctic region, and participated in critical evaluation and modification of the NSF plans to implement the Congress-mandated Government Performance Results Act (GPRA).

Mukasa has proposed the following goals for his new position as dean:

• Facilitate the growth of a world-class community of scholars with a balanced mix of modelers, experimentalists, theoreticians and technology transfer specialists.

• Build graduate programs that not only continue to be eminent in both science and engineering, but ones which also graduate first-rate, basic-research-oriented scientists with credentials to compete successfully for first-tier university professorships at rates comparable to those of the elite programs in the nation.

• Promote interdisciplinary research within the college and in collaboration with other colleges, and in so doing, encourage debate about reassessing the current traditional stance of various units and their current curriculum design.

• Foster more partnerships with industry to enlarge the entrepreneurship footprint of the college, thereby helping the state to build a new economy.

• Aim to have the most gender-balanced college in the university in terms of faculty and research staff through implementation of practices that minimize unconscious biases during recruitment and hiring. In this respect, he is encouraged to see that UNH was funded recently by the ADVANCE Program at the National Science Foundation to address gender bias issues.

• Cultivate a strong and effective College Advisory Board comprised of distinguished alumni, leading scientists and engineers as well as unit heads.

• Maintain transparency in all administrative processes.

Reached in his office yesterday, Mukasa said, “I am deeply honored to be returning to my alma mater as CEPS Dean. I am going to set ambitious goals fully aware that they cannot all be fulfilled by just one person. Rather my duty will be to inspire an elevated level of engagement as we pursue the objectives outlined above as a team. I very much look forward to the opportunity to serve.”


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