Illinois professor recommended as new dean of MSU College of Natural Science
EAST LANSING, Mich. — James Kirkpatrick, a professor of geology and executive associate dean of the University of Illinois’ College of Arts and Sciences, is being recommended as the new dean of Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science.
In making the recommendation, MSU Provost Kim Wilcox said Kirkpatrick has the administrative skills, classroom experience and research background to continue moving the college forward.
“Jim’s ability to promote the lively exchange of ideas – and to then listen attentively to his colleagues – will guide him well as he steps into this position,” said Wilcox. “His administrative experience across a broad range of disciplines, including the life sciences, comes at a time when critical conversations about restructuring undergraduate programs in the life sciences are taking place across campus.”
Kirkpatrick’s appointment as a tenured professor of geological sciences is subject to approval by the MSU Board of Trustees. If approved, his appointment would be effective Aug. 1.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kirkpatrick has served as the R.E. Grim Professor of Geology since 2005. A faculty member since 1978, Kirkpatrick was head of the Department of Geology from 1988-1997.
Kirkpatrick has been executive associate dean of Illinois’ College of Arts and Sciences since 1997. In that time he has overseen the reorganization of the college’s School of Life Sciences, as well as associated changes in the School of Chemical Sciences.
It was also under his leadership that the college established a Merit Workshop program for students in biology from disadvantaged educational backgrounds.
Before coming to Illinois, Kirkpatrick was an assistant research geologist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1976-78). From 1973-75 he was a postdoctoral fellow in geophysics at Harvard University.
Originally from New York, Kirkpatrick earned an A.B. in geology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in geology from Illinois.
His research interests include theoretical and applied research in geoscience, materials chemistry and materials science.
Kirkpatrick will succeed George Leroi, who has served as dean of college from 1996-2006. Estelle McGroarty has served as acting dean since January 2007. Prior to that she was senior associate dean of the college.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 16 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.