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Jones Named Divisional Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Kate Jones, professor and associate head in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will serve as the inaugural divisional dean for natural sciences and mathematics in the UT College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am thrilled to be joining the college leadership,” Jones said. “Transformations can be challenging, and the college is currently undergoing a significant one. My focus will be on ensuring this process is as smooth as possible and listening to the needs of the departments in the natural sciences and mathematics.”

Jones joined the university in 2006, after completing a postdoc at Rutgers University where she worked with the ORNL Nuclear Astrophysics group. Since joining the department, Jones has directed 11 doctoral students and three master’s students through graduation.

In 2019, Jones took the lead in establishing a BA program in physics to support students who changed majors late in their academic careers because they were unable to complete the rigorous requirements of a BS in physics.

“The highly flexible program, which we introduced to the catalog in August 2022, caters to students who want to apply their knowledge of physics in pursuits other than graduate studies in physics,” Jones said. “By offering students increased flexibility in course selection, the program enables students to explore additional academic paths, such as adding another major in disciplines such as business or law.”

In 2009, she was named the Department of Energy Outstanding Junior Investigator, which recognizes exceptional scientists early in their careers by supporting development of their individual research programs. Jones is part of UT’s experimental nuclear astrophysics group, which investigates the workings of the atomic nucleus and the role it plays in how elements are created. In 2010, she published a first-author paper in Nature.

Jones will begin her appointment July 1, 2023. As divisional dean, Jones will work with faculty, departmental administration, and members of the college office to develop and implement faculty affairs policies and procedures that support the faculty’s central role as scholar-teachers in the mission of the college and the university. Divisional deans will serve as advocates for the units and faculty, staff, and students in their divisions. In her role, Jones will collaborate with members of the college office to build and maintain an environment that enables and empowers world-class research and creative activity, teaching, and engagement.

“The entire college stands to gain immense benefits from the additional support and resources provided by this divisional structure pilot,” Jones said. “My priorities include helping to drive the success of the pilot, streamlining and enhancing processes for greater efficiency, and advocating for the division. I am dedicated to fostering a welcoming work environment for students, staff, and faculty.”

About the College of Arts and Sciences Divisional Structure Pilot

In September 2022, the UT Chancellor announced a plan for establishing a divisional structure within the College of Arts and Sciences. Under the model, beginning July 1, 2023, the college will be organized around three broad divisions: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Each division will be led by a divisional dean who will report to the executive dean. The divisional structure is a pilot and its effectiveness will be assessed after two years. RJ Hinde is the interim executive dean working with the provost, college leadership, faculty, and staff to create a divisional structure designed to meet the various needs of the college. Read more about the pilot on our website.