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The passing of the baton, a changing of the guard, a new dawn in some ways in the leadership team in the College of Science. The College of Science comes together to celebrating the extraordinary service of our departing department chairs and welcome our new department heads. We are grateful for your many years of service to our faculty, to the College and to OSU. The legacy you leave behind has impacted generations of physicists, mathematicians and microbiologists.

“The job of a department chair is keeping an eye on the big picture, looking at the department as a whole and developing the department’s relationship with the College,” said Dean of Science Sastry Pantula. “But the chair is also a manager, keeping the day-to-day operations running smoothly; a researcher; teacher; consultant; a skilled navigator; tireless mentor; an accountant; and HR director. The hours are long, the days endless, the pay never enough, the thanks sometimes belated and the preparation all “on the job.”

“But I hope that the satisfaction comes from conducting a successful faculty search or re-imagining the department curriculum, mentoring a young colleague in their early years, serving others and watching others around you thrive,” adds Pantula. “I cannot thank you enough for the outstanding jobs you have done and for your many years of service to the College.”

The College has benefitted from the leadership and stewardship of our department chairs:

  • Theo Dreher, Chair of the Department of Microbiology, 2004-2014. Theo has been on OSU faculty for 28 years.
  • Tom Dick, Chair of the Department of Mathematics, 2011-2014. Tom has also been at OSU for 28 years.
  • Henri Jansen, Chair of the Department of Physics, 1998-2014. Henri arrived at OSU 30 years ago.

We welcomed three new extraordinary new department heads. With four of our seven department heads in the College now women, we are demonstrating our deep commitment to diversity in science.

  • Jerri Bartholomew, Head of the Department of Microbiology
  • Heidi Schellman, Head of the Department of Physics
  • Enrique Thomann, Interim Head of the Department of Mathematics

Thank you and welcome!

Departing chairs_dinner

Scientists can dance. Come out and support our science faculty and students who are competing in OSU’s annual Dancing with the FacultyAhern
fundraiser . Doors open at 6:30 pm Friday, February 20, and the dancing gets started at 7 pm in the Memorial Union Lounge, which is the area with the couches just upstairs from the front entrance. Watch some of your favorite science faculty take to the floor, performing impressive dance routines.

Representing the College of Science are three professors from the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics: Kevin Ahern, Andy Karplus and Phil McFadden.

Although this fundraising event is free, audience members are encouraged to “vote” for the winners at 50 cents/vote with an unlimited number of votes). All proceeds going to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which raises much-needed funds and awareness from more than 4 million people in over 20 countries to save lives from cancer.

Dancing with the Faculty is jointly hosted between several student groups and organizations in the Colleges of Engineering and Science,. Of course the highlight is the spectacular dancing talents of students and faculty across both college as well as special performance performances from the OSU Elite Dance Team and PowerChord, OSU’s premier co-ed acappella group.

Join the Facebook event!

Performers include:

  • Kevin Ahern, Biochemistry & Biophysics, College of Science, dancing with the lady scientists from Sigma Delta Omega
  • Andy Karplus, Biochemistry & Biophysics, College of Science, dancing with Elizabeth Allan-Cole, an undergraduate research assistant
  • Phil McFadden, Biochemistry & Biophysics, College of Science, dancing with Sydney Quinton-Cox in the Sydney Quinton-Cox, a bioengineering major
  • Travis Walker, Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Karl (Dr. Rat) Schilke, Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Adam Higgins, Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering

Karplus  McFadden


The College of Science celebrated teaching and advising excellence at its annual Winter Awards Ceremony at the Memorial Union on February 3. Guided by the theme of mentorship, students and professors paid heartfelt tributes to cherished mentors who were instrumental in igniting their passion for science and influencing their careers.

“Impactful teaching and mentoring is what transforms good students into leaders of science,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science who presented the teaching and advising awards. “I cannot thank faculty and advisors enough for the incredible amount of time spent advising, teaching and mentoring. It does indeed take a village to build the next generation of leaders in science.”

The event was enriched by the presence of students who announced the awards for which they had enthusiastically nominated their teachers and advisors.

Statistics senior instructor Jeff Kollath won the Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching Science. His former student Juliann Moore praised him for guiding her career as a student, and, subsequently, as a teacher of statistics.

“Now I teach alongside my mentor. This instructor has shown me that teaching can be so rewarding,” said Moore, who is also a statistics instructor in the College.

Kollath described his own recipe for successfully teaching large undergraduate lecture classes. “You have to remember the audience you have and keep your expectations high as well as realistic.”

Physics Professor Henri Jansen, who won the Olaf Boedtker Undergraduate Advising Award, recalled the “invisible mentoring” he received from his postdoctoral advisor that continues to influence his own approach to student advising.

“The mentee has to be ready. Plant the seed, but don’t push,” said Jansen. “A good mentor should help you figure out what you should be doing, not what the mentor would have done.”

Mathematics Instructor David Wing, who won the Loyd Carter Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, has a reputation for using Rubik’s Cube puzzles to break the ice with his students and make them fall in love with mathematics.

Biophysics and Biochemistry Professor Tory Hagen was awarded the Loyd Carter Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching.

“Professor Hagen’s inspiring mentorship and teaching reminds me of the famous saying by Plutarch. ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled,’” said Nick Thomas, his graduate student.

“The best way of teaching and mentoring is to give room and allow innately good students to achieve their best,” said Hagen while accepting his award.


Congratulations to the College of Science Winter 2015 Teaching and Advising Award Winners

Henri Jansen, Physics Department—Olaf Boedtker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

David Wing, Mathematics Department—Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching, Undergraduate

Tory Hagen, Biochemistry & Biophysics Department—Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching, Graduate

Jeff Kollath, Statistics Department—Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching


More than 600 students and teachers from elementary and middle schools across the Willamette Valley and as far north as Portland participated in Oregon State University’s Discovery Days. This annual outreach program is co-sponsored by the Colleges of Science and Engineering. College of Science Dean Sastry Pantula was on hand to talk with the students and handle the snakes.

Discovery Days encourages students to develop their own questions and ideas about science while creating a deeper interest to learn more. The activities and programs encourage students to explore more of the world around them by piquing their curiosity and engaging their minds with interactive exhibits.  Students participate in hands-on activities where they can even examine examining live specimens such as snakes and geckos as well as make polymers.

The event continues from 9:00 am-3:00 pm February 4 in LaSells Stewart Center on OSU’s main campus in Corvallis.

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