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Physicist Malcolm Beasley named dean of School of Humanities and Sciences

President Gerhard Casper and Provost Condoleezza Rice announced Friday the appointment of Malcolm Beasley, the Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor of Applied Physics and, by courtesy, professor of electrical engineering, as the new dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Beasley has chosen Ellen Markman, professor of psychology, to become the new associate dean for the social sciences. Ramón Saldívar, associate dean/vice provost for undergraduate education, will continue to serve for an additional year.

Beasley will succeed current Humanities and Sciences Dean John Shoven, who will step down at the end of the academic year.

Casper described Beasley as "extremely thoughtful" and a "great university citizen. He's somebody who is broadly interested in the university and will understand the full range of disciplines that he will be overseeing. He also shows great concern and sensitivity about the important issues that face us."

Rice added that Beasley brings an impressive record of academic leadership and administrative experience to the job.

Beasley said, "I served on the search committee for the previous dean, John Shoven. So I know what kind of scrutiny these things go through. I'm excited about it."

Beasley praised his predecessor for working to bring top scholars to the university.

"The most important thing any dean does is to bring the best possible people to their institutions. I was privileged to serve on the Appointments and Promotions Committee in Humanities and Sciences, and I have to take my hat off to John Shoven in that regard," he said.

Beasley said he also supports the efforts Casper has made to strengthen the role of department chairs.

"I'm sympathetic to that," he said. "Not only to see that the university runs better, but also to see that the best and most creative ideas get generated at every level. We all know that universities are resource-limited, and you have to select, but you have to have the ideas to start with."

Beasley added that he looks forward to furthering the university's commitment to undergraduate education.

"I really am impressed with what the university has been doing to enrich the undergraduate experience," he said. "H&S has a large role to play in that. It's something I believe in, and I'm looking forward to getting involved."

Beasley added that he supports the goal of faculty diversity, a topic to which the Faculty Senate devoted a great deal of discussion earlier this year.

"I thought the discussion in the senate was really very thoughtful and useful. I think we do need to be diligent on the question of diversity, and I identify with that goal and will do my best."

Beasley, 58, has been a member of the faculty since 1974. He earned his bachelor's degree in engineering physics at Cornell University in 1962 and his doctoral degree in physics there in 1968. After serving as a research associate in the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics at Harvard University, he joined the faculty there in 1968.

At Stanford, in addition to serving two terms on the School of Humanities and Sciences' Appointments and Promotions Committee, Beasley has served as the chair of the department of applied physics and, more recently, as director of the Center for Materials Research at Stanford, a multidisciplinary research center.

He also was instrumental in the establishment of the new Laboratory for Advanced Materials, bringing together 24 faculty from the departments of applied physics, chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, and materials science and engineering. This laboratory will open after construction of the new Science and Engineering Quad is completed early next year.

Beasley's research interests are in materials physics with particular emphasis on superconductivity ­ the property of some materials to lose all electrical resistance at very low temperatures.

At Stanford, he is the "B" of the so-called "KGB Group," a superconductivity research team that includes colleagues Aharon Kapitulink and Theodore Geballe. In 1988, Beasley was invited to deliver the Morris Loeb Lecture in Physics at Harvard and in 1990 he gave the James Clerk Maxwell Lecture at the Institute of Electrical Engineering in London. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991. Although Beasley has worked closely with graduate students, he says he has taught undergraduates regularly during his career. In 1983, he received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School of Humanities and Sciences for his development of a course in science for non-scientists.

Markman, 51, who will succeed Stephen Haber, earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in 1969 and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. She taught at the University of Illinois from 1973 to 1975, before coming to Stanford in 1975. She served as chair of the psychology department from 1994 until 1997. A developmental psychologist, Markman has studied early language development, specializing in determining how very young children, particularly infants, figure out what words mean. She served on the search committee that ultimately resulted in Beasley's appointment. Markman is a contributor to the 1998 volume of the Handbook of Child Psychology. She is a member of the National Research Council's Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists.

"I'm honored and really welcome the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I'm greatly looking forward to it," Markman said.

"Ellen was an extremely successful chair of psychology," Rice said. "She is also somebody of wonderful intellect and quality of mind. I found her advice and counsel on [the search committee] to really be first rate. I think she cares deeply about all the issues that we're facing. Ellen was a chair who was very sensitive to junior faculty development and about issues of diversity."

Beasley added that he is "delighted" with Markman's acceptance.

"I couldn't be happier," he said. "She's a highly regarded scholar and is thoughtful and judicious. I think she's going to be terrific."

Shoven praised the choice of Beasley and Markman.

"I'm extraordinarily enthusiastic about the set of appointments. I think the school is in marvelous hands going forward and that Gerhard and Condi have recruited a wonderful team for the future of Humanities and Sciences. I think the future looks very bright."

Saldívar was appointed to the newly created post of vice provost for undergraduate education in 1994. He has overseen the introduction of initiatives such as Sophomore College, Stanford Introductory Seminars and the enhancement of undergraduate advising.

"This is a very important moment of transition for both the School of Humanities and Sciences and undergraduate studies in general at Stanford," Saldívar said. "In the past four years we have made great strides toward making undergraduate education at Stanford the model for other American universities. I look forward to working with the new dean, Mac Beasley, and the new associate dean, Ellen Markman, as well as the continuing deans, Hans Andersen and David Holloway. Together we can now move to implement fully President Casper's and Provost Rice's extraordinary vision for undergraduate education at Stanford."

Beasley and his wife, Jo Anne Horsfall Beasley, an artist, live in Palo Alto, where they reared their three children: Michael, a banker in Spokane, Wash.; Claire, an architect living in San Francisco; and Matthew, who currently manages the business affairs of several local jazz groups and runs a floral business with his mother.

Beasley said he plans to devote the early part of his deanship to the administrative tasks at hand.

"I won't teach immediately, but we'll see," he said. "I'll miss it. I hope to be able to continue on research and working with my graduate students so that when my five years is up I can go back and be a regular professor again."

In addition to Shoven, other faculty who have served as dean include Ewart Thomas, professor of psychology, who served from 1988 to 1993, Norman Wessells, a vertebrate biologist, who served from 1981 to 1988. Wessells' predecessor was the late Halsey Royden, a mathematician, who served from 1973 to 1981.


By Elaine Ray

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