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New deans appointed for College of Chemistry and IAS

| 22 July 2004

 



John Lie (above, left) has been named dean of International and Area Studies, while Charles Harris will assume that role at the College of Chemistry in 2005.
Jim Kwak (left) and Yvette Subramanian photos

A distinguished chemist with many years on the Berkeley faculty and a sociologist who is an expert in East Asian Studies have been named as new deans for the Berkeley campus by Chancellor Robert Berdahl. Charles B. Harris, professor and department chair of chemistry, will become dean of the College of Chemistry effective July 1, 2005, while John Lie, professor of sociology, has been in place as dean of International and Area Studies (IAS) since July 1. Harris will replace Clayton Heathcock in chemistry, while Lie succeeds David Leonard in IAS.

Said Berdahl in announcing the appointments: “Charles Harris’s 35 years on our faculty give him deep ties and an excellent perspective on the future of one of our most critical areas of science. John Lie is a recent addition to the faculty, bringing us an unmatched breadth of experience in international-studies scholarship and programs. These are two terrific appointments for Berkeley.”

Chemistry: preserving continuity
Harris, who holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been on Berkeley’s chemistry faculty since 1967. The author of more than 200 papers, he is currently chair of his department and is the Joel H. Hildebrand Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. He is also a Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Harris is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received many other honors, including Alfred P. Sloan and Alexander van Humboldt fellowships and appointment as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he is the former associate director for Energy Sciences and director of Chemical Sciences at LBNL.

“One of my goals over the next five years,” Harris says, “will be to build a materials chemistry program for both graduate students and undergraduates — one that will focus, in a highly interdisciplinary way, on nanomaterials, biomaterials, and polymers.” In pursuit of that goal, Harris will have the opportunity to recruit additional faculty for the College of Chemistry by working closely with leaders of the new campuswide initiative on nanotechnology, one of five “New Ideas” initiatives to emerge from Berkeley’s Strategic Academic Plan of 2002.

Because Harris has been chair of the chemistry department for only one year, Clayton Heathcock has agreed to remain as dean until July 2005. Says Harris: “I want to complete or get into high gear some of the programs I’ve been involved in starting as chair. It would be too much of a loss of continuity to have a new dean and a new chair at the same time.”

Heathcock, dean of chemistry for five years, lauds Harris’s goal of building a materials chemistry group, calling it “an obvious but difficult direction for the college to head in.” He said it will likely resemble the multiyear effort he himself led to develop and implement an interdisciplinary B.S. major in chemical biology — the first graduates in which received degrees in May.

During his tenure, Heathcock also oversaw the retrofitting of College facilities as part of the SAFER seismic-safety program on campus. In addition, funding for endowed chairs and distinguished professorships within the college increased sharply, with the number of such positions increasing fourfold over five years. “That’s a challenge that isn’t quite complete,” he says, “but we’ve made a lot of progress.”

IAS: in excellent hands
Lie, who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, joined the Berkeley sociology faculty in 2003, following stints at the University of Oregon, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan. He holds the C.K. Cho Chair in Sociology at Berkeley, and chairs the campus’s Center for Korean Studies, a unit of the Institute of East Asian Studies within IAS.

His research interests include social theory, political economy, and the Korean diaspora. Among his publications are the books Modern Peoplehood (2004), Multiethnic Japan (2001), and Han Unbound: The Political Economy of South Korea (1998); the textbook Sociology: Your Compass for a New Century (with Robert J. Brym; 2003); and a number of book chapters, articles, and review essays. Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots (co-authored with Nancy Abelmann) was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Award in 1995.

“Whether we think of 9/11 and the Iraq War, terrorism and genocide, or globalization and migration, we can no longer confine our thinking, teaching, and research to the borderlines of California or even of the United States,” says Lie. “Building on the work of the distinguished deans Albert Fishlow, Richard Buxbaum, and David Leonard, I hope to promote all aspects of international, area, and global education and research, from promoting language study and study abroad to fostering the international exchange of faculty, students, and ideas.”

David Leonard, dean of IAS since 1999, will return to full-time teaching and research in political science at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1975. He calls Lie “a brilliant scholar of exceptional and proven administrative ability. I am delighted to be leaving the IAS division in such excellent hands.”