Charles Feigerle, professor of physical chemistry, has been named the new Head of University of Tennessee’s Department of Chemistry, effective July 1.
Feigerle has been in the department for 26 years and has served as the Associate Head for four and half years. This played an important part in the Head Search. “In making this decision, I have favored administrative experience, which is extremely useful in a large, complex department like this one.” said Harry McSween, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
As Department Head, Feigerle will provide leadership in academic programs; planning, developing, integrating and implementing departmental teaching, research and outreach efforts; recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, staff and students; and the pursuit of competitive grants, research contracts, gifts and other special funding to provide support for scholarships, fellowships and professorships.
“I am impressed by, and agree with, Chuck’s assessment of the program and his vision of how it might be improved.” McSween said. “I am confident that he can advocate effectively for the Department and build consensus on its future direction.”
With 30 faculty members and 125 graduate students as of Fall 2011, the Department of Chemistry is one of the largest departments on UT campus. Recent reductions in state and university budgets combined with UT’s goal to become a “top 25” state university bring tremendous challenges for the new Department Head.
“This department has a long history of producing excellent undergraduate and graduate degree candidates. It is already a research leader at the University of Tennessee and has the potential to also lead in Tennessee’s quest to become a top 25 state university.” Feigerle said. “I have seen great progress in this department during my career and it is my goal to build on that progress.”
With the incoming graduate class this fall, the Department will witness the highest graduate student enrollment ever. Also, during the year S2010, the faculty of the Chemistry Department submitted more proposals (in total dollars) than any other department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Even with the economic downturn, Feigerle has full confidence that the Department is “ready to meet these challenges with the help of our supporters and with the hard work and dedication of our students, staff and faculty.”
Feigerle earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1977 and obtained his Docterate from the University of Colorado in 1983. His research interests lie within the broad umbrella of experimental physical chemistry, with emphasis on development and characterization of advanced and emerging materials. He has authored and co-authored 89 publications.
Feigerle replaces Craig Barnes, who stepped down in July, 2011 to return to his position as a professor of inorganic chemistry.
Frank Vogt, associate professor of analytical chemistry, was appointed in July 2011 as the Associate Head on a renewable 3-year term.
Facing the challenge of advancing the department’s graduate program, Vogt developed two strategies. “…by encouraging more internal collaborations between research groups, we can ensure graduates from the program are well-rounded and marketable.” Vogt said. He also plans to utilize novel recruiting techniques to competitively recruit the brightest college graduates.
“Frank has a history of supporting his students on GRA’s when possible and graduating his students in a timely fashion; both of these are important goals for our graduate program.” Feigerle expressed his full confidence in Vogt for leading graduate program and the whole Department forward. “From my interactions with Frank, I am convinced he will bring a special enthusiasm and dedication to the position of Associate Head.” Feigerle said.
During Vogt’s six years as a faculty member in UT’s Chemistry Department, he has received several NSF grants and funds from USDA, Eastman Chemical Company, and collaborations with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Vogt’s research vision is advancing analytical chemistry by combining optical spectroscopy with innovations in statistical data analyses with the goal to make instrumentation more sensitive and more selective. His current research focuses on studying chemical reactions in microalgae cells in response to changing environmental conditions. His research has resulted approximately 40 publications.