Professor named interim dean of College of Natural Sciences

Huma Munir

David Laude will take over as the interim dean for the College of Natural Sciences in August.

Laude, a distinguished professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs, received the appointment last week.
He will replace Mary Ann Rankin, who was dean for 17 years, in August. Rankin worked with Laude to develop several programs such as UTeach and the Freshman Research Initiative, Laude said.

As an administrator, he plans on using the full extent of his power to keep these programs going, he said.

Laude received his doctorate in analytical chemistry at the University of California at Riverside in 1984 and became an assistant professor of chemistry at UT in 1987. He has received several teaching awards, including the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence and William David Blunk Memorial Professorship, according to a press release.

Working with students is Laude's passion, he said. It is tremendously satisfying to educate students and watch them become successful and achieve their goals, Laude said.

"That is really what our job is," he said. "I enjoy teaching so much."

Laude has been instrumental in transforming the academic environment at the college by creating mentoring and support programs for students, said Sacha Kopp, associate dean of the college and an associate professor.

"There are a lot of resources at a major university [like UT] and [Laude] thinks very creatively to bring the resources to undergraduate education," Kopp said.

Kopp said in his interactions with the future interim dean, Kopp has found Laude to be deeply concerned with students’ academic and personal success.