Paul William Jagodzinski, head of the Colorado School of Mines’ Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry, will become the dean of Northern Arizona University’s College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences, effective June 1.
“Paul’s impressive background in teaching and research and his experience in academic leadership are precisely the credentials we were seeking in a dean to lead such a large and complex unit,” said Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
Jagodzinski was attracted to the college’s combination of engineering and science.
“Current and future students who earn degrees in technical disciplines need to be exposed to both fields,” he said. “The problems that current students will have to solve during their careers will require engineers to understand scientists and scientists to understand engineers.”
Jagodzinski said the college uniquely positions NAU to be a leader in carbon management education and research—an area in the college he would like to see further developed.
A search for a dean to lead the college began last spring after Laura Huenneke left to become vice president for Research. Barry Lutz has been serving as interim dean since February. The college has seen steady enrollment increases and a greater research focus among its various disciplines.
“Paul will build on that foundation with the exceptional faculty in the college to advance the innovation and interdisciplinary synergy of this powerhouse combination of the natural sciences, engineering and applied sciences,” Grobsmith said.
Jagodzinski’s research focuses on how molecules interact with laser beams and metal surfaces. “One example of why these studies are important is the chemistry associated with the catalytic converter in cars,” he explained.
Since 2001, Jagodzinski has been a professor and led the chemistry and geochemistry department at the Colorado School of Mines. His prior experience includes being a professor and chairperson for the Department of Chemistry at West Virginia University. He has won numerous academic awards, including being chosen as a Robert A. Welch Foundation Graduate Fellow at Texas A&M University from 1973-1976.
Jagodzinski has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and a doctorate in physical chemistry from Texas A&M University.