John Fourkas Named Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Education in UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
Fourkas has been a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 2005.
John Fourkas has been named associate dean for faculty affairs and graduate education in the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS), effective January 15, 2023. Fourkas is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with a joint appointment in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology.
Fourkas, who also holds the Millard Alexander Professorship in Chemistry, joined UMD in 2005 as a tenured professor, following a decade at Boston College as a faculty member. He has served on the campus Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (APT) Committee (2017-20) and as associate chair for the graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2007-10).
“Professor Fourkas is an outstanding scholar and teacher. I am thrilled that he will use his pragmatism and experience to support our faculty members and graduate students and help them advance in their careers,” said CMNS Dean Amitabh Varshney. “I have no doubt that he will do an excellent job in this new role.”
As CMNS associate dean for faculty affairs and graduate education, Fourkas will oversee the APT process for the college’s 300 tenured/tenure-track faculty members; the promotion process for the more than 750 professional-track faculty members in CMNS; and the review process for periodic faculty members in the college. He will also coordinate the college’s 24 graduate degree programs that educate more than 1,700 students annually and review proposals for new graduate courses and programs.
He will work closely with the college’s leadership team, department chairs, research institute and center directors, and graduate program directors to enhance all teaching, learning, mentoring and service activities in the college.
“I look forward to bringing my experience with graduate education and with the faculty tenure and promotion process to the associate dean position in CMNS,” Fourkas said. “I'm excited to continue, and advance, our excellence in these areas and to take advantage of the opportunities that come with CMNS being the largest college at the university.”
In the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Fourkas spearheaded the creation of the department’s Academic Promotion and Tenure Oversight Committee, which ensures that all tenure and promotion cases are dealt with in a consistent and transparent manner. He also recently oversaw the revision of the department’s APT criteria.
In 2016, Fourkas helped launch UMD’s Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The program connects researchers at the two institutions, and currently funds over 120 participants, including 23 graduate students.
Fourkas served on the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s Racial Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee from its formation in 2020, and he currently co-chairs the successor to that group, the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Climate.
Fourkas’ personal research focuses on the application of ultrafast optics to study, image and sculpt material at the nanoscale. He has published more than 160 referred papers and 15 book chapters, and he is an inventor on 15 patents.
He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America), and is a Senior Member of SPIE.
Fourkas received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Stanford University in 1992 and his B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1986.
Fourkas assumes the role previously held by Gerald “Jerry” Wilkinson from 2018 to 2022. During this time, Wilkinson oversaw the promotion process for over 100 tenure-track faculty members and nearly 150 professional-track faculty members. He also served as a co-principal investigator on a five-year National Science Foundation grant to recruit presidential postdocs into tenure-track positions in the biomedical sciences—a model now incorporated into the campus Faculty Advancement at Maryland for Inclusive Learning and Excellence (FAMILE) program. Wilkinson also established a program to supplement offers to graduate students underrepresented in the sciences and helped launch the Science Academy, which has grown to over 100 students pursuing professional master’s degrees and graduate certificates.