Professor of Neuroscience & Behavior and Biology David Bodznick has been appointed as dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. While dividing his time between classroom, lab, and administrative duties, Bodznick hopes to increase the visibility of the University’s math and science departments.
He brings to his new position many years of experience in the University’s sciences. First hired as a professor in 1979, he has also served as director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program and chair of the Biology Department.
“Currently, a very strong science program is underutilized,” Bodznick said.
Thanks to the University’s graduate programs in the sciences, undergraduate students have opportunities to participate in research that is more cutting-edge than that done at peer institutions. Bodznick said that potential students seeking opportunities in the sciences must be made aware of this.
Effective advertising, however, is far from the only concern that Bodznick has as dean. One of his main responsibilities is to work as a liaison between the administration and the faculty of the various math and science departments. These include the Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth and Environmental Science, Mathematics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Neuroscience and Behavior, Physics, and Psychology departments.
“I’m working for them,” Bodznick said of these departments. “I rely on them to keep me informed.”
In order to effectively communicate the needs and goals of these departments, Bodznick said that he spends a lot of time listening. By attending departmental meetings, as well as through more informal conversations, he aims to learn about the specific concerns of each particular department.
“It’s tough to understand the concerns of a physicist or a psychologist without spending a fair amount of time with them,” he said.
During his tenure, Bodznick also expects to see the groundbreaking of a new science building, which would replace the current Hall-Atwater Laboratories. Payette Associate Inc., an architectural design firm based in Boston and specializing in buildings for science and science teaching, was recently chosen to design the new building. Bodznick noted Oberlin College’s new science center as an example of the firm’s work.
Though the project is in its very early stages, Bodznick has high hopes.
“The new building will be the anchor for the south end of campus, kind of a counterbalance to the new student center,” he said.
Science majors and faculty members, however, are not the only people with whom the new dean is concerned. Bodznick said that he hopes the new science building will include major public spaces and will welcome the entire University community. He cited as another goal an increase in the number of science and math courses available to non-science students.
“I spend 60 percent of my time teaching, 50 percent being the dean, and 20 percent being responsible for my laboratory and graduate students,” Bodznick joked.
A specialist in neurophysiology, Bodznick continues to teach in the Biology Department and manages a laboratory of five students, while also conducting research on how the brain analyzes sensory information.