Walker Arts and Humanities Building.

Hemmer Named Dean of Michigan Tech’s College of Sciences and Arts

David Hemmer has been appointed as new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

David Hemmer will begin as dean of Michigan Technological University’s College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) on July 1, 2018.

Hemmer comes to Michigan Tech from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (UB) where he is chair and professor of mathematics. Hemmer replaces retiring dean Bruce Seely, who led the College for the last decade.

White male wearing glasses smiles at camera.
 David Hemmer appointed dean of CSA. (Kevin Marquez photo)

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jacqueline Huntoon says, “Dr. Hemmer is bringing many new ideas and approaches to the Michigan Tech campus. He is an outstanding scholar who has had prior experience leading efforts to improve undergraduate education, contributing to community outreach and managing an academic department. The College of Sciences and Arts, the Dean's Council and the University as a whole will benefit from his perspectives.”

Putting the M in STEAM

As a mathematician studying abstract algebra, Hemmer’s expertise in representation theory of symmetric groups has resulted in dozens of publications and invited talks across the nation and globe. Hemmer’s research has been supported by National Science Foundation grants for the past 20 years.

Though Hemmer has made a career advocating for STEM education, he is no stranger to the arts. During his tenure at UB, Hemmer provided service to the university’s honors college and the department of music—experiences that will aid him in promoting STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) at Michigan Tech. 

"My area of research is very pure mathematics. I study problems that I find beautiful and interesting, not motivated by applications. In this way, while I am a mathematician and scientist, I find common ground with my colleagues in the humanities." David Hemmer

Hemmer holds a PhD and MS in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a BA in Mathematics from Dartmouth College. He began his career as an NSF postdoctoral fellow at the University of Georgia; he transitioned to the University of Toledo in 2003, where he became associate professor before moving to UB in 2007.

Hemmer’s versatility to benefit multidisciplinary College

Michigan Tech’s College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) houses ten distinct disciplines—from physics to visual and performing arts—but Hemmer’s professional reach is just as versatile. At UB, Hemmer chaired the Department of Mathematics while advising PhD students, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, and facilitating a mathematical education community outreach program for elementary students in the greater Buffalo area. Last January, Hemmer led a team of parents at Dodge Elementary School that won the Parents as Reading Partners (PARP) Award from the New York PTA.

Honoring CSA history to collaboratively create the future

Hemmer’s plans for leading CSA is inspired by a combination of the College’s historical excellence and the University’s changing leadership. Hemmer says, “With a relatively young faculty and potential growth planned from the Portrait 2045, this is a great time to be leading CSA. I want to build on the incredible momentum the College has under Bruce Seely’s leadership. Bruce has been very gracious sharing his time and wisdom during this transition. With so many new leaders arriving this summer, this will be a crucial time in Michigan Tech’s history and I am excited to be a part of that. I look forward to working with Provost Huntoon and the incoming president.”

Four new deans and the University’s president-elect, Richard J. Koubek, will all start on July 1, 2018. Hemmer, like Koubek, champions the union of arts and sciences. In his remarks at the April Board of Trustees meeting, Koubek stated that in order to become a leading technological university, Michigan Tech must build on its reputation as a campus “where technology, humanities and the social sciences converge.”

Hemmer also plans to advance Michigan Tech’s objective to wed the sciences with the arts, stating, “The evidence is clear that the best scientists and engineers have a broad-based training in the humanities and social sciences. I was delighted to hear how the humanists and social scientists in CSA embrace their role at a technological university. I will have a lot to learn from my new colleagues in these disciplines.”

No stranger to snow country

The National Weather Service estimates Buffalo’s snowfall during the 2017-18 season at 112.3 inches. In fact, many report Buffalo to be in the top 10 of the world’s snowiest cities. Hemmer and his family are no strangers to shoveling and Hemmer says, “My family and I are excited about all the outdoor opportunities available in such a beautiful part of the country.” Hemmer will be joined in Houghton by his wife Ginny and three children, Meghan (13), Benjamin (9) and Adam (7).

In addition to enjoying the region and its weather, Hemmer says he felt “at home immediately during my two trips to Houghton. I have never seen a more friendly and welcoming environment. I look forward to getting to know all my colleagues.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.