University News

Dean Peter Weber to step down

Weber to return to teaching in the chemistry department, University to launch search

By
News Editor
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Updated Jan. 15 at 10:30 a.m.

Graduate School Dean Peter Weber will step down from his administrative position and return to teach full-time within the Department of Chemistry, wrote Provost Richard Locke in a community-wide email Wednesday.

Weber, who has taught at the University since 1989, began his position as dean in July 2010, The Herald previously reported.

In the last five-and-a-half years, he saw a 17 percent growth in graduate student population and worked to expand graduate student benefits, Locke wrote.

Of Weber’s most significant contributions were those regarding financial aid. As part of President Paxson’s Building on Distinction Plan, Weber implemented the Presidential Fellows Program, which provides stipends and increased financial support to outstanding doctoral program applicants across all concentrations. He has also worked to bolster “financial certainty” for graduate students who require a period of study lasting longer than five years, Locke wrote.

Within the coming month, administrators will launch a search for Weber’s successor as they work with him and Graduate School staff to assure a smooth changeover as he returns to the Department of Chemistry by the year’s end.

Locke will head a search committee comprising faculty from across the University, as well as graduate student representatives, he said. The search, which will launch this week, will only seek internal University applicants, Locke added.

“We are looking for someone who recognizes and is able to promote academic excellence within the graduate program and the University,” Locke said. “We need someone who can really understand the graduate student experience, and will make sure that we are supporting the graduate students as much as we can to guarantee their success.”

Weber will aid in the search to find his successor as well, he wrote in an email to The Herald.

While Weber did not explicitly state his reasons for leaving, Locke said that Weber’s term of six years is common for an administrative University position. Weber will stay on as dean until the end of the semester, at which point he will return to the chemistry department, to continue his research on chemical dynamics.

“Peter has remained a very active researcher throughout his time,” Locke said.

Within his former department, Weber researched molecular energy flow and reaction dynamics and the characterization of molecular structures. Weber also served as chair of the chemistry department between 2005 and 2010, The Herald previously reported. As chair, Weber oversaw the growth of graduate student enrollment within the department.

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