New Honors College Dean Named

François G. Amar, chair of the University of Maine Department of Chemistry, has been named dean of the Honors College following a national search. His appointment is effective Aug. 1.

Amar succeeds Honors Dean Charlie Slavin, who passed away in July 2012.

David Gross, professor emeritus of English at the University of Oklahoma and a part-time faculty member of the Honors College, has been serving as interim dean.

Amar has been a member of the UMaine community since 1983. In addition to teaching and conducting research, he has served as interim chair and chair of the Department of Chemistry in 1998–99, 2005–06 and since 2011. He is a member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) and Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI).

He has been a member of the Honors College faculty since 2000.

Amar received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1979. His chemistry research focuses on theoretical chemistry and statistical mechanics, including structure and reaction dynamics in ionic, molecular and metallic clusters, as well as catalytic upgrading of biofuels. His other academic interests include interdisciplinary teaching and chemical education research.

“I am delighted that Dr. Amar has accepted the offer to become the next dean of the University of Maine Honors College,” says Susan Hunter, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Dr. Amar is very familiar with the Honors College, having taught in it for over 10 years. He is respected not only in the honors community, but campuswide, and demonstrates the student-centeredness that has been the hallmark of the Honors Program at the University of Maine. François is a remarkable intellectual who embodies the academic qualities that we embrace as a university community.”

UMaine President Paul Ferguson added: “I look forward to working with Dr. Amar and his leadership of the Honors College. François has demonstrated a real passion for honors education and for ensuring our students experience the very best of UMaine. I wish him much success.”