Tech Names Max Seel Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations
On Monday, Feb. 15, Max J. Seel was named provost and vice president for academic affairs. Seel, who has been acting as interim provost since January 2009, was one of three finalists for the position.
"The University community is extremely fortunate that Max has agreed to serve as provost and vice president for academic affairs," said Michigan Tech President Glenn D. Mroz. "His extensive experience as a faculty member, department chair and college dean will serve us well. He is dedicated to Michigan Tech and has a vision for its future consistent with our strategic plan and long-term goals."
The provost is the chief academic officer of the University, responsible for all of Michigan Tech's academic programs and faculty. The provost is also responsible for development and implementation of strategic initiatives to raise academic programs to the highest level, as well as promote scholarship, expand Tech's research, and increase and enhance diversity.
"I am honored to be chosen as Michigan Tech's next provost and vice president for academic affairs," said Seel. "I will do my best to contribute to growing Michigan Tech as premier technological research university, to advancing the unity of teaching and research, and, together with all the other administrators and staff, to making faculty and students successful."
A native of Germany, Seel received a PhD in computational solid-state physics and theoretical chemistry from the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg and spent a postdoctoral year at the IBM research laboratory in San Jose, Calif. He taught and did research in quantum chemistry and computational physics at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg until joining the Michigan Tech physics faculty in 1986.
He was named interim dean of Michigan Tech's College of Sciences and Arts in 1989 and served as its dean from 1991 to 2008, when he chose to return to research and teaching.
"We were looking for a provost who could provide strong leadership in the academic mission of the University, who understands the goals of Michigan Tech and is willing to do what is necessary to help us reach these goals," said Alex Mayer, chair of the provost search committee and professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Seel easily fits those criteria. He had to compete against an excellent, diverse pool of candidates who had extensive experience in a wide range of academic positions. The search committee recognized Dr. Seel's intellectual vision, his demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching, research and service, and his impressive skills as an experienced administrator."
The new provost said, "My academic focus will be on new undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates; faculty development; research in key areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, atmospheric sciences, sustainability; computational science and engineering; communication; policy; and science/technology/society studies."
His research involves large calculations in various areas of physics, chemistry and biology, such as materials surfaces, polymers, nanotubes and biological molecules like proteins and DNA.
He is a member of the American Physical Society, the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma, and Sigma Xi, a scientific research society. He is listed in "Who’s Who in Science and Engineering."
Mayer, the search committee chair, added: "I'd like to thank the search committee for their hard work during the process. They were easy to work with, but could be counted on to bring diverse viewpoints about the priorities for this position. I also want to thank the University community for their input into the process. We are grateful that so many students, faculty and staff attended the various forums during the candidates' campus visits and contributed comments via the search website."
Members of the search committee in addition to Mayer are Vice Chair Darrell Radson, Sarah Anderton, Mari Buche, David Flaspohler, Nancy Grimm, Randal Harrison, Amy Hughes, Jackie Huntoon, Theresa Jacques, Rudy Luck, Erik Nordberg, Ravi Pandey, David Reed and Tim Schulz.