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July 7, 2016

A&S dean to step down

cooperN. John Cooper, the Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, will step down from the dean’s post and return to the faculty in August 2017.

In a June 23 memo announcing the move, Patricia E. Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor, praised Cooper’s 18-year service as dean. Beeson noted his commitment to recruiting and developing faculty members expert in both research and scholarship, along with a “strong and effective staff.”

Beeson cited a number of Cooper’s accomplishments over the past two decades:

• More than 70 percent of current Dietrich school faculty members were recruited under Cooper.

• Underrepresented minority faculty members in the school have increased by 30 percent.

• Women faculty members in the school have increased by almost 50 percent.

• Sponsored research funding has nearly doubled, totaling $1 billion over Cooper’s time.

• The school has received funding for almost 250 new endowed funds, including seven chairs, 14 fellowships and 98 scholarship and student resource funds, adding up to $260 million in giving to the Dietrich school; this includes the school’s largest gift in its history, from William Dietrich.(See Nov. 10, 2011, University Times.)

Added Beeson: “Perhaps one of the most distinguishing characteristics of John’s time as dean is the transformation of the educational programs offered to students in the Dietrich school and the College of General Studies. The impact of his commitment to the value of a liberal education and to the University’s core education mission is reflected in the elevation of these programs in various rankings and best-value designations.”

She also highlighted the near-doubling of applications during Cooper’s tenure, as well as the fact that the current class has test scores that are 150 points higher than class averages when Cooper first served as dean.

Cooper, a native of Northern Ireland, attended Oxford and continued there as a graduate student in organometallic chemistry, earning his doctorate in 1976.

He began his academic career at Harvard, then joined Pitt in 1986 as a professor of chemistry and served as department chair 1989-94.

He became dean in 1998.

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