Hartman named interim dean of the College of Science and Engineering

The newly-appointed interim dean of the College of Science and Engineering will try to maintain the department’s momentum built by his predecessor.

Biology professor Phil Hartman was named as the temporary replacement for former Dean Demitris Kouris, who resigned earlier in April.

Kouris declined to comment on his resignation.

Hartman also declined to comment on the nature of Kouris’ resignation, but he said he praised the level of cooperation between them.

“Dean Kouris has bent over backwards to help me transition, and he’s doing it in a collegial way, much more than he would need to,” Hartman said.

In the coming months, the College of Science and Engineering will search for Kouris’ official successor. Hartman said he was uncertain about the possibility of obtaining the position.

“I don’t know; I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not campaigning for it at the present,” Hartman said.

If given the position, Hartman said there would be many things he would miss about being a professor.

“Directing pre-health students, teaching and researching are three of things that I love that I could be giving up,” Hartman said.

He was confident, however, that what he could lose from being a teacher would be replaced with the passion and pride of representing the college, Hartman said.

During his time as interim dean, Hartman said he would work hard to continue Kouris’ initiatives from the past three years and be an advocate of the pre-health professions program.

Before he officially assumes his responsibilities as interim dean on June 1, Hartman said he planned to meet with each departmental chair and unit head and ask how he could best serve them.

These meetings would take place in the next few weeks, Hartman said.

Hartman said he looked forward to working with an already proven talented and dedicated faculty.

“He personifies the teacher-scholar model that has been so important to the success of our college,” biology professor Ray Drenner said of Hartman. “And we know that he will do a great job as interim dean.”

Even though the future is uncertain, Hartman said he remains confident.

“This is not a broken ship; this is not even a damaged ship,” Hartman said. “The brightest days are ahead.”

Hartman has been a biology professor at the university since 1981. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University in 1975 and his doctorate in microbiology at the University of Missouri in 1979.