PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Peter Weber, professor of chemistry and chair of the department, has been named dean of the Graduate School at Brown University, succeeding Sheila Bonde. Weber will begin his duties on July 1, 2010.
In his role as dean, Weber will have primary responsibility for the continued enhancement of graduate education at Brown University, a central priority in the Plan for Academic Enrichment, and will serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet.
Weber joined the University as an assistant professor in 1989. He has chaired the Department of Chemistry since 2005. More broadly, he has been active in promoting collaborative research in the area of energy, and his work has helped to position Brown to become a significant locus for research and scholarship in this field.
“As a scholar, as a teacher, as a department chair and as a primary force in the University’s push to augment its national profile in energy science, Professor Weber has been an energetic and thoughtful citizen of our University,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons. “He will provide the Graduate School with the strong and insightful leadership it must have as the University continues to make significant investments in graduate education.”
As the senior academic officer in the Graduate School, Weber will guide the school’s growth and identify ways to recruit the strongest students as Brown pursues its Plan for Academic Enrichment. He will be Brown’s primary advocate for graduate education and will represent the University in national discussions about graduate education.
“I’m honored by the confidence and trust that the administration has placed in me,” Weber said, “and I am looking forward to working with everyone in the University on our common goal to advance graduate education at Brown University."
An internationally recognized scholar in chemistry, Weber’s research focuses on the exploration of chemical reactions on ultrafast time scales. His lab has developed two highly time-resolved techniques to explore molecular dynamics from two different perspectives. He is the author or co-author of more than 60 research papers, and his research has been funded by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the National Institutes of Health, the Mellon and Sloan foundations, and other government and foundation sources.
As chair, Weber has led the chemistry department through a major growth spurt. Nearly half the present faculty have been hired during his tenure, and the number of graduate chemistry students has grown as well.
Weber has been an innovator in the classroom. He helped pioneer the introduction of modern technologies into the curriculum, including a fully operational Web site for an introductory course in 1993. He and other chemistry faculty also trained students in computational tools to augment classroom learning in introductory courses. More recently, he has been teaching a freshman seminar on energy.
A native of Germany, Weber received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1987. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California–Berkeley before coming to Brown to begin his teaching career.
Apart from his teaching, research, and service as department chair, Weber is the vice chair of the Human Resource Advisory Board at Brown and serves on the advisory board for the newly created Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation. His past service to the University includes chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee and member of the Working Group on Graduate Education, the Graduate Council, the Faculty Campaign Committee, and numerous other University and departmental committees.
He is the founder and president of Ryon Technologies Inc., a Providence-based company.