Lay Nam Chang, interim dean of Virginia Tech's College of Arts and Sciences and former head of the physics department, has been named dean of the university's College of Science following an in-house search that began in December. Chang's appointment to lead the college, which is evolving from the College of Arts and Sciences as part of Tech's restructuring, is effective on March 10.

"Dr. Chang's energy, scholarship, leadership experience, and passion for achievement, combined with his commitment to the goals of diversity and excellence made him the ideal choice to head the College of Science. He has demonstrated that he is prepared to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and we look forward to his leadership over the next three years," said Tech Vice President for Academic Affairs and University Provost Mark G. McNamee in announcing the selection of Chang.

In his new position, Chang will help establish the new college, define its vision, enhance the quality and diversity of employees and students, create an administrative infrastructure, lead the college's participation in the university's capital campaign, create a climate that encourages all members of the college community to contribute to college and university goals, serve as a member of the university's leadership team, develop internal and external relationships that will promote the college's programs, and provide entrepreneurial leadership for the growth and development of academic, research, and outreach programs in the sciences.

The College of Science will include the departments of biology, chemistry, economics, geological sciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics.

"The idea of starting a brand-new College of Science is really quite exciting, and I am honored to be part of the team that will be putting this unit together. We are fortunate to be living at a time when progress in science and technology is making possible what we could only dream about only a short while ago. I look forward to working with everyone at all levels and backgrounds to achieve our collective goal of reaching top-tier status," Chang said.

Chang, interim dean of Arts and Sciences since November 2001 and physics department head for six years before that, joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1978 after working on the physics faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for seven years. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the University of California at Berkeley. He has conducted research at MIT and the University of Chicago and has been a visiting scientist or visiting instructor at institutions of higher education in Denmark, British Columbia, Singapore, and the United States.

As interim dean of Arts and Sciences, Chang initiated discussions that eventually led to the definition of the goals of two colleges emerging from the College of Arts and Sciences; managed the two rounds of budget reductions without losing sight of the possibilities for these two colleges; maintained the momentum in activities promoting diversity; initiated several cross-college collaborations in critical technologies, life sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences; and established regional alumni advisory groups for the two colleges.