Four departments undergo leadership changes


Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey

Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey is the new head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.

This summer, four College of Science departments had changes in leadership.

Laszlo Lempert, who had been head of the Department of Mathematics since 2011, announced his resignation in January for the end of June. The new Math department head is now Greg Buzzard, a professor of mathematics at Purdue since 2002. Buzzard’s leadership started July 1.

Lempert said his time as a department head had its challenges but was also “very rewarding.” Lempert returns to teaching and research within the Department of Mathematics.

Buzzard hopes to keep Math’s momentum strong.

“The math department plays a vital role in the educational and research missions of Purdue,” he stated. “We enroll thousands of students in our classes each year, and our scholarship is well-represented in top academic journals, in partnership with other departments and with industry, and in external funding.  Some of our efforts face challenges and opportunities in the form of technological and economic changes. However, Dean (Jeff) Roberts is committed to working with us to find both traditional and innovative approaches in order to build a thriving department. 

Dr. Greg Buzzard
Dr. Greg Buzzard

“This position brings with it a great deal of responsibility, but also a great deal of support from wonderful colleagues and an excellent staff.  I'm grateful to be able to rely on so many people who care deeply about the math department.” 

In Chemistry, Paul Shepson’s five-year term as department head came to an end June 30 as well.  In the interim, Tim Zwier, the M.G. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, will serve as departmental leader.

“Tim has a deep understanding of Chemistry and a great deal of administrative experience, including a very successful term as Department Head,” said Jeff Roberts, the Frederick L. Hovde dean of the College of Science. “Anyone who knows Tim appreciates that he will be successful in the very important role of interim head.

“Tim’s interim appointment is for an unspecified term. Tim and I will consult with members of the department over the next several months about key challenges and issues facing Chemistry, including when to launch a search for the next head.”

Shepson made a definitive mark on Chemistry.

“Paul has provided strong leadership, and he has been a passionate advocate for the Department of Chemistry,” Roberts said. “I have very much admired Paul’s ability to demand the many demands of administration with an incredible level of research activity. It has been impressive to watch.”

In Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Dr. Jon Harbor fulfilled his stint as department head. Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey moved into the head’s office on July 29.

Chaubey’s research and expertise is in ecohydrology, namely in water quantity and water quality, but his background and faculty career at Purdue is linked to Engineering and Agriculture. This diversity should help him in EAPS, one of the most varied departments on campus.

“Ever since I’ve been on the faculty at Purdue, I’ve had a joint appointment between EAPS and ABE (Agricultural and Biological Engineering), which is a very diverse department like EAPS,” Chaubey said. “Having experience there is going to be very helpful because I’m used to working with faculty with very diverse issues and graduate students who are doing very diverse research.

“We have a great department. We have great faculty, and we have a good representation inside and outside (of Purdue campus). My job is to facilitate and continue the great things that are happening and to continue to look at ways to improve wherever we can. I’m very excited to be leader of this department, and I’ve been looking forward to working with the faculty, staff and students and to lead this program to the next level.”

On Aug. 1, Dr. Nicholas Giordano finished his time as department head of Physics as well as his time at Purdue. He has accepted a position at Auburn University. Purdue Physics Prof. Andy Hirsch has been named interim head for the Department of Physics.

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