dean

The nationwide search for a new dean for MSU’s College of Letters and Science (CLS) concluded on Wednesday, April 22, with a candidate chosen who will not have to travel far to make his debut. After navigating his way through a strong pool of applicants and taking part in extensive virtual interviews, Yves Idzerda, the current head of our Department of Physics, was named dean of the MSU College of Letters and Science.

Idzerda joined the MSU community in 2000 as an associate professor of physics. He served as the associate director of the MSU Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials from 2004 to 2009. He has served as the physics department head since 2013. In the past, his research in quantum information technology and energy applications, conducted with focus on characterizing and controlling nanostructure and thin film materials, was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, Idzerda has received multiple awards and was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2008.

Moreover, before coming to MSU, Idzerda worked in the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where he was given the responsibility of being both the staff scientist and the head of the artificially structured materials nonlinear physics section. He has completed an immense amount of schooling, including a doctorate in physics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in physics from the University of Washington and bachelor’s degrees in physics and electrical engineering from Washington University.

“I’ve spent 20 years at MSU and being selected as dean is a humbling honor,” Idzerda said. “I have the greatest respect and admiration for my fellow faculty and our students, and I can’t wait to work with them in this role.

The current dean of the College of Letters and Science, Nicol Rae, is stepping down after seven years in the position. During his time as the dean, the college’s enrollment grew substantially, and, as a result, Rae fostered the addition of two centers: The Ivan Doig Center for the Study of the Lands and Peoples of the North American West and the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery. Furthermore, Rae helped coordinate a symposium on the future of recreation in the Greater Yellowstone region and launched a new doctoral program in American Studies.

Rae plans to stay at MSU and return to teaching in the Department of Political Science. "I'm looking forward to getting back in the classroom with students as well as working on my scholarship in politics,” Rae said. “I’ve enjoyed being a dean, but I also love teaching.”

Idzerda will begin the position of overseeing one of the university’s largest colleges at the start of the new academic year in July.

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