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James T. Spencer appointed associate dean in College of Arts and Sciences
James T. Spencer, professor of chemistry in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was recently appointed to the position of associate dean for mathematics, sciences, research and facilities.
In his new position, Spencer will provide ongoing leadership for the college’s mathematics and natural sciences departments; support the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty members; act as a primary liaison between the college and the Office of Research and the Office of Sponsored Programs; and manage, coordinate and implement all facilities and space planning activities in the college.
Appointed to the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in 1986, Spencer is the founder and director of the college’s interdisciplinary Forensic Science Program, director of the Soling Program, founder and chair of the University’s MayFest celebration (now known as SU Showcase), founder and director of the SU Brass Ensemble, and a core faculty member with the Renée Crown University Honors Program.
Spencer has also served on a number of departmental, college and University-wide committees. He served as chair of the University Senate Research Committee and of the Senate Task Force on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression. He has also served on the college’s Faculty Council and the college’s promotion and tenure, instruction, Coronat Scholars and technology transfer committees.
A 2000 recipient of the BUSA Distinguished Achievements in Boron Science award, Spencer is author of more than 75 publications in leading chemical journals, has given numerous presentations and invited lectures, and served as preceptor for 12 doctoral and three master’s degree students. During his tenure, Spencer has taught more than 20 different courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, established new courses, and redesigned existing courses in chemistry, honors and forensic science.
Under Spencer’s leadership, the Soling Program was completely revised and new goals, courses, events and projects were created. In addition, Spencer has undertaken responsibility for coordinating student nominations for scholarships from the prestigious Goldwater Foundation and the Astronaut Foundation Scholarship Program.
Spencer serves as the primary faculty liaison for SU’s Project Advance (SUPA) chemistry and forensic science programs and meets annually with high school teachers and administrators to discuss curricular issues. He organizes four professional development seminars each semester for participating high school teachers and directs the SUPA chemistry and forensic science summer workshops for teachers who are new to the program. Over the years, Spencer has presented lectures on chemistry and forensic science to more than 10,000 high school students.
Spencer has served as director of the SU Brass Ensemble since its founding in 1991. The group is composed of SU and SUNY Upstate Medical University faculty, staff and students, who are accomplished brass and percussion musicians, as well as musicians from the Central New York community.
Spencer holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Iowa State University of Science and Technology and a bachelor’s degree from the SUNY College at Potsdam. Prior to coming to SU, Spencer was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Virginia from 1984-86.