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Basu to take reins as new geosciences chair in January
The College of Science Department of Earth and Environmental Science will undergo a change in leadership in January, when Asish Basu takes over as department chair from John Wickham.

Basu, a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., was selected as the new chair from a field of four finalists. Wickham is stepping down after having led the department since his arrival at UT Arlington in 1992.

"We're very pleased to have a geoscientist as distinguished and experienced as Dr. Basu coming to head the Department of Earth and Environmental Science," said Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. "His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable in helping build a geochemistry program here and in attracting top faculty to do research and teach in this area. We had several very well-qualified candidates for this position, but we feel Dr. Basu will bring the best combination of experience and leadership to help continue to move the department forward.

"We want to thank John Wickham for his 20-plus years of excellent leadership as chair. The department has made tremendous gains under his guidance, and his efforts to ensure that our students receive all the teaching and hands-on training they need to be successful have been tireless. His leadership has ensured that the department is in great position to continue to move forward under Dr. Basu."

Basu applied for the position in January and came to UT Arlington to deliver a seminar lecture in February. He returned for a formal interview in March and was formally offered the job in May; arrangements have been finalized in the past two weeks.

"It's like turning a new page and I'm very excited about that," Basu said. "Life is an adventure and I'm looking forward to this new chapter, and to helping to build on what's already been done and make the department stronger."

Under Wickham's leadership, the department established its first doctoral program and greatly increased its number of interdisciplinary programs, working closely with various other departments both within the College of Science and throughout the University. He also spearheaded efforts designed to improve financial support for and improve diversity among geoscience students.

"Twenty years is a long time to be in any particular position, and as the writer of Ecclesiastes points out, there is a time for everything," Wickham said. "I've been lucky to have faculty, staff, students and alumni who respect each other
and cooperate, so the job has not been as onerous as one might think. When I came in 1992, we were a Department of Geology with B.S. and M.S. degrees, and were the only department in the college of Science without a Ph.D. That changed a few years later when we participated in new, Interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Engineering M.S. and Ph.D. programs. A decade later, the department and degree programs were merged and the names of both changed to Earth and Environmental Sciences.

"Like all flourishing organisms, we seem to have evolved as the environment changed, and I am sure will continue to do so under the leadership of Professor Basu."

Basu's research interests are diverse and are primarily based on petrological, mineralogical and geochemical approaches in understanding aspects of Earth's evolution. He uses trace element, radiogenic and stable isotopes as principal tools in these studies, along with other standard laboratory and field observations.

Basu was born in Calcutta, India and earned a bachelor of science degree in Geology, Physics and Mathematics from Calcutta University in 1964. He received a master's degree in Geology from Calcutta University before moving to the United States and enrolling at the University of Chicago, where he earned an M.S. in Geophysical Science in 1969. From there he went to University of California at Davis and earned a Ph.D. in Geology, then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota from 1975-77 and as a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey from 1977-78.

He joined the faculty of the University of Rochester as an assistant professor in 1978 and has been there ever since. He was promoted to associate professor in 1981 and full professor in 1987. He served as department chair from 1986-98.
He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and a fellow of both the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Basu will visit campus during the Fall 2012 semester to continue preparations for his arrival in January.

Posted August 1, 2012
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