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.
"When early particle physicists found the electron within a few years, you had