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Van Patten chosen as interim dean of MTSU College ...

Van Patten chosen as interim dean of MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences

Beginning July 1, Greg Van Patten will be interim dean for the MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences. A nine-year chair for the Department of Chemistry, Van Patten was selected to the post for a one-year term by Provost Mark Byrnes. He is shown outside Davis Science Building. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Chemistry professor Greg Van Patten has been selected to be interim dean for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University by Provost Mark Byrnes, who made the announcement Thursday, July 1.

Van Patten, 51, spent nine years as chair of the Department of Chemistry and will now lead the college during the university’s national search for a new permanent dean. From a list of nominees, Byrnes chose Van Patten to replace Bud Fischer, who championed the new Science Building that opened in 2014 and will soon become Western Kentucky University’s provost.

Dr. Mark Byrnes, university provost

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Greg Van Patten, professor, Chemistry; interim dean, CBAS

Dr. Greg Van Patten

“Greg has done a fine job leading a large and complicated department and has also chaired the (43-member) Chairs Council. I have great confidence in his ability to do this job,” Byrnes said.

Along with chemistry, the college includes aerospace, agriculture, biology, computer science, concrete and construction management, engineering technology, geosciences, mathematical sciences, military science and physicsand astronomy.

“I’m excited about it (the opportunity),” Van Patten said of the one-year appointment. “Now, I will have a wider focus. I’ll be looking at different things and how all these fit together — for the rest of the university, community and state. In recent weeks, I’ve been adjusting my thinking that way.”

College of Basic and Applied Sciences logo“My goals for the coming year are really to maintain and continue our momentum started by Dean Fischer,” Van Patten added. “I want to make sure our students continue to reach their goals with career placement or graduate and professional schools. I want to continue building our research output and I want to make sure people around the state — our state leaders, our alumni and friends, our teachers and counselors and prospective students — are all aware of the great things happening here at MTSU.”

New interim MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Greg Van Patten, right, takes time out to show prospective students equipment and explain how experiments can lead to discoveries in the Science Building chemistry laboratory. MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes selected Van Patten to a one-year appointment to the position. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

New interim MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Greg Van Patten, right, takes time out to show prospective students equipment and explain how experiments can lead to discoveries in the Science Building chemistry laboratory. MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes selected Van Patten to a one-year appointment to the position. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

As Chemistry Department chair, Van Patten said he has “witnessed great accomplishments resulting from the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty and staff” from throughout the entire college. “It’s all about student success — encouraging our students to aim high and then helping them reach those goals. … We have a number of signature programs and we have been working vigorously on student success.”

Dr. Bud Fischer

Dr. Bud Fischer

Van Patten said Fischer has “done a fabulous job over the past nine years, positioning us as a college and building enrollment, building buildings and building research output at a time when other universities have had a difficult time.

“Under Dean Fischer we have significantly improved our research grant activity. We’ve grown into the biggest college within the university, and he’s responsible for it. We’ve worked hard on undergraduate admissions recruiting, development (fundraising) and alumni relations. I hope I can continue to keep moving (the college) in that direction.”

MTSU will begin its national search for a permanent dean this fall. Van Patten said he plans to apply.

Related to the transition:

  • Andrienne Friedli, longtime professor and administrator, will become interim Chemistry Department chair.
    Dr. Andrienne Friedli, chemistry department faculty member

    Dr. Andrienne Friedli

    Dr. Chaminda Prelis, chair, Department of Aerospace

    Dr. Chaminda Prelis

    Dr. Ken Currey, chair, Engineering Technology

    Dr. Ken Currie

  • Chaminda Prelis will be the new Department of Aerospace chair, replacing Wendy Beckman, who wanted to return to the classroom after serving in interim and permanent capacities since 2015. Prelis has been director of aviation programs at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.
  • Ken Currie, chair and professor of Industrial & Management Systems Engineering at West Virginia University, was selected as the chair in Engineering Technology, effective Aug. 1. He replaces Vishwas Bedekar, who served as interim chair and will return to the classroom. Engineering technology features mechatronics engineering and other programs.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Interim MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Greg Van Patten, left, visits with university President Sidney A. McPhee in the Science Building recently. The college is home to 11 departments. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Interim MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Greg Van Patten, left, visits with university President Sidney A. McPhee in the Science Building recently. The college is home to 11 departments. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Named interim dean for the MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences by Provost Mark Byrnes, Greg Van Patten begins a one-year appointment July 1. MTSU’s largest college, Basic and Applied Sciences features aerospace, concrete, mechatronics engineering and 11 departments altogether. He is shown announcing Department of Chemistry student awards in the Science Building Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium in April. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Named interim dean for the MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences by Provost Mark Byrnes, Greg Van Patten begins a one-year appointment July 1. MTSU’s largest college, Basic and Applied Sciences features aerospace, concrete, mechatronics engineering and 11 departments altogether. He is shown announcing Department of Chemistry student awards in the Science Building Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium in April. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)


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