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John Pelesko
John A. Pelesko, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will become interim dean of the college, effective Sept. 1.

John Pelesko named interim dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Associate dean to take on new role Sept. 1

John A. Pelesko, associate dean for the natural sciences of the University of Delaware College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), has been named interim dean of the college, effective Sept. 1, Provost Robin Morgan announced today.

He will succeed George Watson, who is stepping down to return to the faculty. A national search will be conducted to fill the role long-term.

“Dr. Pelesko is an outstanding University citizen who has served his department, the College of Arts and Sciences and our broader community in an exemplary manner”, President Assanis said.  “In parallel, he is a passionate educator and interdisciplinary researcher in mathematical modeling, active learning and school education. CAS will benefit from John’s analytical and inclusive way of thinking during this transition period. Provost Morgan and I are delighted to work with John in this new role.”

“John Pelesko has been involved in and led many diverse initiatives that lay the foundation for his success as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,” Morgan said. “He balances numerous on-campus projects with his statewide role in education leadership and teacher preparation programs. I know firsthand John’s dedication to UD, his superb communication skills, his insights regarding interdisciplinary initiatives and his understanding of teaching, scholarship, and outreach. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with him as we advance CAS and UD, and we are very grateful to John for taking on this responsibility.”

Pelesko, who is also a professor of mathematical sciences, has served as associate dean since January 2016 after being interim associate dean for a year.

“I’m thrilled to step into this role and honored to have the opportunity to work with the students, faculty, and staff across the college as we continue to move ahead,” Pelesko said. “Dean Watson has positioned the College of Arts and Sciences for continued success, and I look forward to working closely with Provost Morgan and President Assanis to advance both the college and the University.”

As associate dean of the college, Pelesko has oversight of six departments in the natural sciences -- mathematical sciences; biological sciences; chemistry and biochemistry; physics and astronomy; psychological and brain sciences; and linguistics and cognitive science – that are home to a third of the college’s undergraduate majors and the majority of its graduate students, as well as more than 160 faculty members.

He also oversees secondary teacher preparation in the college, the Delaware Teachers’ Institute, and educational programming in UD’s Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory.

Before being named interim associate dean, Pelesko served as chairperson of the Department of Mathematical Sciences from September 2011 to January 2015. He was director of graduate studies in the department from September 2009-11.

His University-wide service includes work with the Data Science Initiative, the Honors Program Task Force and the General Education Task Force. He served as president-elect and president of the college’s Faculty Senate from 2008-10 and received the college’s Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 2006.

Pelesko is the author of the highly regarded books Self Assembly: The Science of Things That Put Themselves Together, published in 2007, and Modeling MEMS and NEMS, published in 2002, as well as several book chapters and numerous research articles in scholarly journals.

A member of the UD faculty since 2002, he previously served on the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology.

He earned his bachelor’s degree cum laude with distinction in pure mathematics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and his Ph.D. in mathematical sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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