Photo courtesy of Cal State Long Beach of Curtis D. Bennett.
Curtis D. Bennett, a nationally recognized mathematician, has been selected as Cal State Long Beach’s (CSULB) new dean for its College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM) to assist in leading its efforts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the university announced. Bennett will begin his new duties on July 31.
As part of his duties, Bennett will work with campus leaders on institutional awards such as National Institute of Health's (NIH) Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions’ STEM programs.
“Dr. Curtis Bennett is a nationally recognized mathematician with a well-developed understanding of the full range of the responsibilities of a dean of Natural Science and Mathematics within the CSU,” CSULB Provost Brian Jersky said in a statement. “These include sustaining and developing both undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as the key role of research, within the Long Beach environment. He also has a good understanding of the need for focused fundraising. I am looking very forward to his leadership of the college.”
As the third endowed dean’s post in the entire CSU system, the Richard D. Green endowed dean position is supported by a $2.3 million gift from its namesake. It also funds a CNSM graduate fellowship, teaching activities, scholarly work and community service efforts. The two other endowed deans’ posts are at San Diego State in business and San Jose State in engineering.
Bennett is currently a professor of mathematics at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and had served as the associate dean for Faculty Development in the institution’s Seaver College of Science and Engineering from 2011 to 2015. Prior to that, he was LMU’s chair for the Department of Mathematics from 2006 to 2011 and an associate professor in the department from 2002 to 2006.
He was awarded both a National Science Foundation graduate and postdoctoral fellowship, was a two-time scholar with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and was a 2010 recipient of the Mathematical Association of America’s Franklin and Deborah Tepper Haimo Award for distinguished teaching, among other accolades.
Bennett earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Colorado State University in 1985, and his Master of Science and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
He will replace Laura Kingsford, who announced last fall she would step down as CNSM dean to focus on leading CSULB’s efforts full-time with BUILD, a program offering intensive research-training opportunities for undergraduate students pursuing careers in health-related research. BUILD is funded by the largest NIH grant in CSULB history: $22.7 million over five years.
“I am very excited about becoming the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at CSULB, and it being the first endowed deanship in the university’s history makes it extra special,” Bennett said in a statement. “Dr. Kingsford’s leadership has left the college with a good foundation from which to build. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the students, faculty, staff and alumni. I am also looking forward to returning to public education in this exceptional opportunity to lead the college in its mission to extend scientific and mathematical knowledge and to educate and train the next generation of scientists and mathematicians.”
A leader in undergraduate and graduate student research, CNSM is housed in the state-of-the-art Hall of Science, the Molecular and Life Sciences Center, the Microbiology Building and Faculty Office 3. The college's six departments offer 22 degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels and enrolls more than 4,400 students. This May, 667 students graduated from the college as part of CSULB’s class of 2017.