Newest tenure appointment

Jacqueline Condon, Staff Writer

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Chemistry professor Dr. Ellen Steinmiller was promoted to associate professor and recieved tenure this past week. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

Dr. Ellen Steinmiller of the chemistry department at the University of Dallas has just been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor and, with this promotion, has received tenure.

Steinmiller is an accomplished research chemist and teacher who focuses on materials chemistry.

“Specifically, I am interested in how the architecture of metal oxides affects their properties,” Steinmiller wrote in an email. “Currently I have two active projects:  I am interested in harnessing the power of light to do chemistry, so we are studying how combining multiple metal oxides improves their photocatalytic properties.   The second project is a collaboration with Dr. William Cody in the biology department, and we are studying the antimicrobial properties of different architectures (shapes) of zinc oxide.  UD chemistry majors have played an active role in the progress of these projects.”

Steinmiller has taught general chemistry, inorganic chemistry, instrumental analysis and analytical chemistry to chemistry majors and science students, as well as a course in forensic chemistry for humanities students seeking to fulfill their physical science requirements.

Steinmiller said that she has enjoyed working with chemistry majors and other students at the university.

“It has been very rewarding to be a professor at the University of Dallas and to be able to work with high caliber students,” Steinmiller said in an email.

When people think of UD, the fields that come to mind most readily are the humanities:  literature, philosophy, history and so on.

But the university also has robust programs in the sciences, and they deserve more attention, not only for their quality but also for their important role in a liberal arts education and for their innate partnership with the humanities.

“Math and science are at the center of a liberal arts education,” Steinmiller said in an email. “The education that science students receive in their humanities classes enhances their reasoning, problem solving and communication.”

Steinmiller added that the liberal arts education students receive at UD is a significant opportunity for interdisciplinary studies.

“UD students have a wonderful opportunity to study not only topics in their major, but also topics across the entire range of study at UD,” Steinmiller said in an email. “The time as an undergraduate may be the last time that you can take an extra history, theology or chemistry class.”

Steinmiller’s promotion is an exciting development for the science program and the chemistry department as a whole, as well as for Steinmiller personally.

Her colleague Dr. William Hendrickson, former chair of the chemistry department and long-time chemistry professor, said that he was pleased by the news, and that Steinmiller had been an important and integral part of the department since she came to UD.

Hendrickson commented that, because the chemistry department is relatively small, the faculty are all friends and want to see each other succeed.  It is evident that Steinmiller has fulfilled that hope.

To celebrate her success, Dr. Scott Boegeman, current chair of the chemistry department, invited students to a reception Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the department office on the second floor of the Haggerty Science Center.

While Steinmiller’s accomplishment of receiving tenure is certainly exciting, many students neither know what tenure is, nor how professors receive it.

Put simply, tenure guarantees that the university will employ a professor until he or she retires.

Hendrickson described it as an investment on the part of the university.

Before the university can make that investment, professors on the tenure track must go through a lengthy review process.

Every two years, they are evaluated in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service, until in the sixth year a final decision is made.

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