Appointment: Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences
The Buffalo State College community is delighted to extend a warm welcome to Mark W. Severson, Ph.D., the new dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences.
Severson comes to Buffalo State from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he was professor and chair of the Chemistry Department. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1983, the same year he accepted a visiting assistant professorship at Oakland University.
Severson’s research interest is the study of molecular and ionic clusters of atmospheric importance and as model systems for solvation. He has published extensively and served as a referee for several journals, including the Journal of Chemical Physics, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry. He has also served as a co-organizer of international research conferences on water properties at the Telluride Science Research Center.
As chair of Oakland’s Chemistry Department, he administered a department with 18 full-time faculty members and six staff employees. The department offered undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a doctoral program and a secondary teacher education program. As chair, he led efforts to create new positions and oversaw three successful searches. He also initiated an effort to acquire large scientific instrumentation through external funding, primarily from federal granting agencies but also from private gifts. He raised his department’s visibility by putting faculty accomplishments forward, and he helped to formulate a curricular revision to the new general education program. The revision required all students to have the opportunity to take part in experimental laboratory experiences.
As dean, he plans to bring a collaborative leadership style to the school. “I have always been impressed,” he said, “by how difficult problems often prove to have simple solutions when the right people get involved.”