Research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
loading the 2013-2014 Report
Ask Joe Francisco, College of Arts and Sciences dean, what attracted him to UNL, and he’ll tell you all about the university’s research strengths, focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and commitment to workforce diversity.
Francisco, who became dean of UNL’s largest college July 1, said the strong culture of interdisciplinary collaboration was a major factor in his decision to come to Nebraska. He came to UNL from Purdue University where he was a distinguished professor of chemistry and of earth and atmospheric sciences.
“There’s a lot of discussion in higher education about working across disciplines,” he said. “UNL is taking a leadership role in advancing innovative research at the cutting edge across multiple disciplines, and that is exciting.”
Francisco is former president of the American Chemical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He’s won several prestigious research and teaching honors, including an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentor Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Francisco was president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers from 2006 to 2008.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate in chemical physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
UNL’s sincere commitment to diversity appealed to Francisco.
“This is part of my core values,” he said. “I saw that as an opportunity where I could bring some leadership to the university and the college as well.”
But he’s been most impressed by the faculty’s passion for their work and for educating students.
“Many important, forward-thinking programs and innovations have originated at Nebraska in the College of Arts and Sciences. I’ve had a lot of experience working across different platforms, and I see this as an opportunity to take some of that experience and do something creative and fun in new and exciting ways.”