CLAS appoints new department chairs

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) celebrates the appointment of three distinguished scholars as the new academic department chairs for the fall 2023 semester.

Ed Cackett, Sharon Lean, and Markus Friedrich are set to take the helm of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of Biological Sciences, respectively. Eric Ash will serve as acting chair of the Department of History.

Ed Cackett, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Ed Cackett

Cackett, an accomplished astrophysicist, brings a wealth of experience to the position of chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. With an academic career spanning nearly two decades, Cackett's research has significantly contributed to our understanding of black holes and neutron stars.

Sharon Lean, Department of Political Science

Lean specializes in the comparative politics of Latin America, Mexico and Central America. She joined the Wayne State faculty in 2005 and is the recipient of the university's 2016 Outstanding Graduate Director Award and the 2011 President's Award for Excellent in Teaching. From May 2018 to August 2021, she served as associate dean of the Graduate School.

Markus Friedrich, Department of Biological Sciences

Markus Friedrich

Friedrich assumes the role of department chair, bringing a deep understanding of comparative biology, insect development and diversification. He earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Zoology at the University of Munich in 1995 and joined WSU in 1999.

Eric Ash, Department of History

Eric Ash

Eric Ash will be acting chair for the Department of History for fall 2023. His teaching and research interests broadly include the history of Britain and Ireland, early modern Europe (16th and 17th centuries), the history of science & technology, and environmental history. Ash has been actively engaged in service across both CLAS and Wayne State. He will also support the department's internal chair search this semester.

CLAS Dean Stephanie Hartwell shared her enthusiasm about the new appointments, stating, "I'm thrilled to work alongside these scholars. I have no doubt that their vision will shape a brighter future for not just their departments, but for CLAS and Wayne State as a whole.

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