Lovett to step down as science center director, Executive Committee chair

Chip Lovett, professor of chemistry, will step down from serving as the director of the science center and chair of the Science Executive Committee at the end of the academic year, after holding these positions for 16 years. Tiku Majumder, professor of physics will take over in these capacities in the fall.

The director’s responsibilities include coordinating the summer research program in the sciences, supervising science center staff and chairing the Divisional Research Funding Committee, which provides funds for shared equipment and individual faculty research. The Science Executive Committee handles issues relevant to multiple departments and coordinates the science departments’ needs, as well as proposes and oversees new initiatives. Generally, the same individual holds both positions. It comprises all Division III and psychology department chairs, the science librarian, the director of instructional technology, the associate provost and two at-large members.

“[The chair of the Science Executive Committee] is a crucial role, and Professor Lovett has performed it extraordinarily effectively for many years,” said Bill Wagner, dean of the faculty.

In his 16 years in the position, Lovett not only steered departmental coordination on small matters, but also oversaw major additions to the College’s scientific resources. Most notably, Lovett played a central role in the renovation of the Thompson science buildings and the construction of the Schow Science Library and Morley Science Labs.

Wagner consulted with the science department and psychology chairs before appointing Majumder as Lovett’s successor. One critical issue facing Majumder, the science center, the Science Executive Committee and the College as a whole is the current financial climate. Through his role as overseer of needs across departments, Majumder will evaluate key demands of the classroom and laboratory aspects of science education. He will also continue to work with the Office of Admission to recruit students strongly interested in science and scientific research, and will emphasize mentoring of science undergraduates.

“I think the success of faculty-student research at Williams is one of the great strengths of the College, and I hope we can build on this success in many ways in the future,” Majumder said. “While I love being a member of the physics department, I am looking forward to working with colleagues throughout Division III and psychology more broadly as we think about ways to collectively strengthen the experience for all science students, and to provide the resources necessary to support the faculty and staff in their roles as educators and active research scientists.”

Lovett was not available for comment.