UNLV’s College of Sciences has a new leader. Eric Chronister, professor and former chair of chemistry at UC Riverside, will join UNLV July 1 as dean of its College of Sciences.
Chronister has been with UC Riverside for 30 years, including nine years as chair of a rising chemistry department where he was also a noted researcher and educator. During his time as chemistry chair at UC Riverside, the faculty increased significantly, graduate and undergraduate enrollments grew, and grant awards to the department nearly doubled.
“Eric has an impressive background in research, student mentorship, and administration, and his vision for the future of sciences at UNLV aligns closely with our goals as a university,” said Diane Chase, UNLV executive vice president and provost.
A chemist and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Chronister’s research spans chemistry, physics and materials science with a focus on how materials behave at the molecular level under extreme conditions. His other research interests include biophysics, the development of new materials for chemical sensing, and investigation of mechano-chemical systems such as nanomachines.
“I am honored to lead the College of Sciences at this exciting time. The college is integral to UNLV’s rise as a Top Tier research institution, and I look forward to working closely with our faculty and leadership from other colleges and schools to explore new areas for growth and collaboration,” said Chronister. “Research and student success go hand in hand, and I believe UNLV is poised to define what it means to be a top public research institution that serves a diverse and dynamic community.”
Throughout his career, Chronister has been a strong supporter of the role and importance of undergraduate advising and research. In addition to serving nine years as undergraduate advisor in his department, he developed research and tech-intensive courses and participated in research internship programs for underrepresented students. In 1997, he was awarded the university’s Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his mentorship.
Chronister earned a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Illinois. He conducted postdoctoral work at UCLA, where he also received his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and general physics.
The UNLV College of Sciences has more than 100 full-time faculty and 3,000 students, with departments in chemistry, life sciences, geosciences, mathematics, and physics & astronomy. The college also has programs in water resources management and radiochemistry. In fiscal year 2016, college faculty received more than $14.8 million in research awards. Chronister will replace Stan Smith, a professor of life sciences and former associate vice president for research, who has been serving as acting dean since July 2016.