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The Dartmouth
June 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

F. Jon Kull appointed dean of graduate studies

Chemistry professor F. Jon Kull '88 was named dean of graduate studies this summer, beginning his three-year term as dean on Aug. 15. Kull replaced outgoing dean Brian Pogue.

"I'm still going to be a chemistry [professor]," Kull said. "I still need to run my lab, and I'm still going to teach."

Kull's impact on the campus has been "really outstanding" during his time at the College, according to Pogue. He has been active in a number of volunteer efforts to improve science teaching and translation of science to the public.

"He is a well respected chemist doing research funded by the National Institutes of Health, and is a terrific role model of what a professor and dean should be," Pogue said. "I think he is an ideal person to help this university realize the potential it has in academic research, and to be as competitive as possible with our Ivy League peers."

Kull joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2001 and has taught undergraduate courses in chemistry, biochemistry and biophysical chemistry in addition to supervising graduate students in the chemistry department and the molecular and cellular biology programs.

Kull said he was approached for the position by dean of the faculty Michael Mastanduno "several weeks" before beginning his role. He considered the issue of balancing teaching with serving as dean for a few weeks before accepting the offer.

His position differs from the dean of the faculty, dean of the Tuck School of Business or dean of the Thayer School of Engineering positions because unlike those full time positions, Kull will still manage his laboratory and teach classes in addition to serving as a dean, he said. In his new position, Kull will oversee about 800 graduate students through the Office of Graduate Studies.

Kull said his role and the role of the Graduate Studies Office is to support graduate studies students at the College and facilitate "profession development activities," similar to what the Dean of the College does for undergraduate students. Kull and the Graduate Studies Office will not oversee Geisel School students, Tuck students or "certain other groups" of graduate students, he said.

"I know a lot of the people who are involved with the care of graduate students, just interacting with graduate students in my lab for the past 11 years," Kull said.

Kull graduated from the College magna cum laude, having double majored in chemistry in biology. He later attended the University of California, San Francisco, where he earned a PhD in biochemistry, after which he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute before joining the biophysics department at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, according to the press release.

In Heidelberg, Kull's research lab used X-ray crystallography and other biophysical techniques to study protein structure and function. He has also participated in research projects focused on site-directed mutagenesis, mechanisms of motor protein-based force generation and regulation of bacterial virulence, according to the American Chemical Society's Directory of Graduate Research. His research has been published in journals including Nature and the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.

After his return to Dartmouth, Kull became an assistant professor in 2007 and a full-time professor in 2012. He was appointed to the Rodgers Professorship in July, according to the press release.

"I think he's a great choice," chemistry department chair John Winn said. "I'm glad he was offered the position and accepted it."

Winn applauded Kull for his research and his teaching expertise, noting his "wide and broad interest" in both the College and his research.

Kull said he has been active on various committees, including the Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee as well as "numerous departmental and institutional committees," according to the press release. Kull has also served on the Dartmouth Outing Club Advisory Council, belongs to the Dartmouth Second College Grant Management Committee and serves as the ski team's faculty advisor, according to the press release.

Kull said his new position is "a lot to manage" and that it will result in more limited opportunities to teach, but that remaining a professor in the chemistry department is important to him.

"[I am] delighted that he wants to continue with his teaching efforts," Winn said. "We are glad to keep him in the department as much as possible."

Mastanduno could not be reached for comment by press time.