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Charles Feigerle, professor of physical chemistry, has been named the new head of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Chemistry, effective July 1.

Feigerle has been in the department for twenty-six years and has served as the associate head for four and a half years. As department head, Feigerle will provide leadership in academic programs; planning, developing, integrating, and implementing departmental teaching, research, and outreach efforts; recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, staff, and students; and the pursuit of competitive grants, research contracts, gifts, and other special funding to provide support for scholarships, fellowships, and professorships.

“I am impressed by—and agree with—Chuck’s assessment of the program and his vision of how it might be improved,” said Harry McSween, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I am confident that he can advocate effectively for the department and build consensus on its future direction.”

With thirty faculty members and 125 graduate students as of fall 2011, the Department of Chemistry is one of the largest academic departments at UT Knoxville. Recent reductions in state and university budgets, combined with UT’s goal to become a top 25 state university, bring tremendous challenges for the new department head.

“This department has a long history of producing excellent undergraduate and graduate degree candidates. It is already a research leader at the University of Tennessee and has the potential to also lead in Tennessee’s quest to become a top 25 state university,” Feigerle said. “I have seen great progress in this department during my career and it is my goal to build on that progress.”

With the incoming graduate class this fall, the department will witness the highest graduate student enrollment ever. Also, during the year 2010, the faculty of the chemistry department submitted more proposals (in total dollars) than any other department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Even with the economic downturn, Feigerle has full confidence that the department is “ready to meet these challenges with the help of our supporters and with the hard work and dedication of our students, staff, and faculty.”

Feigerle earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1977 and obtained his doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1983. His research interests lie within the broad umbrella of experimental physical chemistry, with emphasis on development and characterization of advanced and emerging materials. He has authored and co-authored eighty-nine publications.