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Karin Ruhlandt Begins Term as Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences

Renowned chemist eager to write College’s next chapter

Jul 1, 2014 | Article by: Sarah Scalese

Interim Dean Karin Ruhlandt


More than 20 years ago, Karin Ruhlandt joined the faculty of Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Today, the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry is at the helm of the biggest and oldest academic unit on campus, as its new interim dean.  

“The College of Arts and Sciences is a special place and I am thrilled to be leading it,” says Ruhlandt. “With more than one third of all Syracuse University students matriculating at the College, and the College providing the liberal arts core curriculum to undergraduate students from all of the University’s schools and colleges, there is no doubt the College is the heart and soul of Syracuse University.” 

Ruhlandt succeeds George M. Langford, who has served as dean for the past six years. A renowned cell biologist, he will return to the faculty in 2015, following one-year research sabbatical.   

“I know I speak for the campus community when I thank Dean Langford for his years of tireless service and dedication,” Ruhlandt says. “Just as he built on the foundation laid by Dean Cathryn Newton, I intend to do the same with Dean Langford, by continuing to foster a culture of teaching and research excellence. I look forward to working with him, when he rejoins the faculty.” 

Ruhlandt was appointed Distinguished Professor of Chemistry—the first female to receive such an honor in the sciences—in 2009, the same year she was promoted to department chair. 

Proof of Ruhlandt’s success as a teacher, researcher, and administrator is evidenced by her many sponsored projects. Ruhlandt is an internationally known expert on the chemistry of highly reactive metals, with application as diverse as computer memory, polymer chemistry and bone therapeutics. Her work resulted in more than 150 papers and invited lectures all over the world. Ruhlandt is the principal investigator (PI) and director of the Research Experience for Undergraduates at Syracuse University, a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that is in its 15th year. Ruhlandt is also a co-author, co-PI, and executive board member of ADVANCE, a NSF project designed to increase the number of female faculty members in the STEM disciplines.  

Ruhlandt was named interim dean by Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina in May. In his announcement, he singled out her “extraordinary credentials and record of achievement [that] make her a perfect choice to serve as interim dean.”

James Kallmerten, interim chair and professor of chemistry, feels she’s exactly what the College needs right now.

“Karin understands the values of The College because she has lived them,” he says. “Her experience and expertise are well-suited to the liberal arts, and, as an administrator, she has demonstrated the pursuit of excellence at every level. Karin has arrived at this post at an exciting time, as the demand for a liberal arts degree is at an all-time high.”

A renowned chemist, Ruhlandt received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in 2012 and a Fulbright Fellowship in 2013, enabling her to spend a year at the Technical University of Graz (Austria). Ruhlandt has also held visiting appointments at the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and Monash University (Australia). 

Ruhlandt earned a Dr. rer. nat. (Ph.D. equivalent) in chemistry from Philips University Marburg in her native Germany, after studying at the University of California, Davis. Following postdoctoral work at UC Davis, she was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at Syracuse University.

“Karin’s background may be in the sciences, but she’s equally committed to the humanities and all the liberal arts,” says Gerald R. Greenberg, senior associate dean for Academic Affairs; the Humanities; and Curriculum, Instruction, and Programs. “Karin has always been a passionate advocate for interdisciplinary research and teaching, and appreciates the value of a liberal education.  She is committed to providing an exceptional academic experience for our students, and I have no doubt she will serve all members of The College of Arts and Sciences and Syracuse University extremely well.”

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Contact Information

Sarah Scalese
315-443-8085
sescales@syr.edu