Chandrashekhar P. Joshi named new chair in Department of Biological Sciences

Bruce Seely, dean of Michigan Tech’s College of Sciences and Arts, has announced appointment of three new department chairs. Cary Chablowski will join the Department of Chemistry as chair and professor of practice as of July 15. On July 1, Anne Beffel will assume chairmanship of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts (VPS), and Chandrashekhar Joshi will become chair of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Chablowski is a computational chemist with an interest in quantum chemistry. He comes to Michigan Tech from the Army Research Lab, where he was chief strategy officer/associate director for plans and programs. He will replace Sarah Green, who stepped down after nine years to spend a year as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the US Department of State.

Chablowski brings with him a deep understanding of the most exciting areas for emerging research in chemistry and a good ability to help faculty develop stronger research proposals, said Seely. “I’m excited to have a pair of fresh eyes helping the department frame its goals and objectives, someone with the administrative skills to help the faculty realize those goals.”

Beffel is an artist who works in many forms and media, including the visual and performance arts. She replaces Roger Held, who is completing seven years as chair of VPA. Beffel joins Michigan Tech from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, where she has taught since 2000. She defines herself as a “time artist” which she says means that she is deeply interested in connecting art and social context in time, using all forms and media.

“Anne’s interests as an artist intersect with every area of expertise and emphasis within the department,” Seely said. “She seems an almost perfect fit to guide the department forward.”

Joshi, a plant molecular biologist recognized worldwide for his research and teaching, has been serving as interim chair of biological sciences for the past year, on leave from his position as a professor in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. He has been on the faculty at Michigan Tech since 1996. He has chaired the University’s Biotechnology Research Center, and in 2011, he won Michigan Tech’s Research Award for his investigation into how trees make cellulose.

Joshi takes over the chairmanship as the Department of Biological Sciences celebrates its 50th anniversary, Seely noted. “It is more than fitting that Shekhar’s appointment will continue a process of strengthening the department’s efforts in graduate and undergraduate education and research, for no institution these days can claim to be a research university without a strong presence in the biological and life sciences. Shekhar is arriving at an exciting time in the biological sciences.”

All three new department chairs, Seely added, have had distinguished careers that demonstrate academic and administrative accomplishments and a commitment to education that promises success in their new roles. “I am deeply gratified at their willingness to take on one of the hardest roles in academic administration. But I am even more excited about the chance to work closely with these three energetic and enthusiastic new chairs,” the dean said. “I ask the campus community to help them feel welcome as they arrive in Houghton over the next month.”