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THE DEPARTMENT OF CHEMIST

What Starts Here Cha

the US enjoyed a level of preeminence. As things have become more level, how do we make our students more globally competitive? We should take a little time and look at it before we lose ground. Are we really giving students the opportunity to learn about the fun- damental science that drives solutions to questions? “

Norman Hackerman

The energy and leadership of a sig- nificant number of our department’s faculty and alumni has contributed to the success not only of UT Austin, but other universities and important nation- al professional organizations. To those faculty and alumni who have gone on to leadership positions, I posed two questions, “Why did you enter into an administrative leadership position?” and “Why have so many chemists and biochemists proved to be such suc- cessful administrators?” Common factors emerged from both questions: commitment to teaching and service, involvement in professional organiza- tions, mentorship, and serendipity also played a role in becoming an effective administrator. The management of re- search programs, and the very nature of the discipline of chemistry and bio- chemistry, are also seen to be impor-

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tant to the success of the chemist or biochemist as an administrative leader.

When asked, “Why did you enter into an administrative leadership position?” one reccurring response centered on teaching. Dr. Joseph S. Francisco, President of the American Chemical Society, B.S. in Chemistry, The Univer- sity of Texas at Austin, PhD, Chemical Physics, MIT, 1983, takes a global per- spective. “One thing I have asked my- self was triggered by collaborations in Europe. Students are really well trained there and are now entering the workplace and competing for jobs. What are my colleagues in Europe do- ing to prepare their students and what are we doing differently here? In edu- cation abroad there are factors that are creating a level playing field. What should we be doing better? At one time

Throughout his career, Dr. Norman Hackerman, (1912-2007), PhD John Hopkins University, distinguished pro- fessor emeritus of chemistry and presi- dent emeritus, Rice University and UT Austin, always maintained his teaching and research. He had an interesting philosophy about administrators and teaching. He insisted on teaching large general chemistry sections always at 8:00 a.m. He knew the rest of his day was devoted to administration. He once said “It’s very difficult for a faculty member to complain about teaching to an administrator when the latter is teaching 500 students.” Gerhard Fonk- en, Professor and Executive Vice Presi- dent and Pro- vost Emeritus, shares Hack- erman’s phi- losophy about teaching. He taught all gen- eral chemistry courses and all organic courses of- fered at UT

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