I am very pleased that Rick has agreed to take on these new responsibilities for the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), says Fawwaz T. Ulaby, vice president for research. He brings valuable expertise to OVPR, based on his own research experience and his administrative activities. His efforts as associate dean for research in LS&A have helped enhance research activity throughout LS&A, improved the administration of research within the college and facilitated a number of improvements in research facilities available to the faculty.
Francis joined the U-M faculty in 1976 as an associate professor of chemistry in LS&A. He was promoted to professor in 1984. In 1997, he was recognized with an Arthur Thurnau Professorship. The same year, he became associate dean for research in the LS&A, a position he held through 2001.
Francis received a B.S. from Yale University in 1964 and a Ph.D. from the U-M in 1969. He did postdoctoral work in 1970 and 1971 at the University of CaliforniaBerkeley and served as lecturer, 197172. Francis joined the University of Illinois faculty as assistant professor in 1972 and was promoted to associate professor in 1975. In 1996 and in 1998, Francis was a visiting professor at the University of Paris, Orsay.
Francis research interests encompass many aspects of the molecular and physical chemistry of novel materials. He probes the chemical and physical behavior of these materials by examining their interactions with electromagnetic radiation in the visible, ultraviolet, infrared or microwave regions of the spectrum. One type of material of particular interest is the so-called low-dimensional solid. These kinds of materials have great technological importance, including as battery electrodes, as optical materials and in electrochromic devices (those that change their translucency when an electric charge is applied).
His awards include the Bausch and Lomb Science Medal (1980), Phi Lambda Upsilon Teaching/Leadership Award (1979), Amoco Teaching Award (1983), U-M Faculty Fellowship (1983), LS&A Excellence in Research Award (1991), and the LS&A Excellence in Education Award (1996). He holds membership in several professional societies, including the Materials Research Society, Electrochemical Society and American Chemical Society.
Francis will succeed James E. Penner-Hahn. Penner-Hahn has served as an associate vice president for research since May 1, 2000 and has been a member of the U-M community since 1985. He recently accepted a position as chair of the Biophysics Research Division (BRD), a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research.
I wish to thank Jim for his past service to OVPR and welcome him in his new capacity, says Ulaby.