California State University, Long Beach
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Bennett Selected As CNSM Dean

Published: July 10, 2017

Curtis D. Bennett has been selected as CSULB’s new dean for its College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM). Bennett will begin his new duties on July 31.

The Richard D. Green endowed dean position is supported by a $2.3 million gift from its namesake, which, in addition, will fund a CNSM graduate fellowship, teaching activities, scholarly work and community service efforts.

It marks just the third endowed dean’s post in the entire California State University system, along with one at San Diego State (business) and San Jose State (engineering).

“Dr. Curtis Bennet is a nationally recognized mathematician with a well-developed understanding of the full range of the responsibilities of a dean of Natural Science and Mathematics within the CSU,” said CSULB Provost Brian Jersky. “These include sustaining and developing both undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as the key role of research, within the Long Beach environment. He also has a good understanding of the need for focused fundraising. I am looking very forward to his leadership of the college.”

Bennett, currently a professor of mathematics at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), had served as the associate dean for Faculty Development in the Seaver College of Science and Engineering at the institution from 2011-15, a role in which he led several college initiatives, including heading up LMU’s successful 2012 McNair grant proposal.

Prior to that, he was LMU’s chair for the Department of Mathematics (2006-11) and an associate professor in the department (2002-06). Before coming to LMU, he was at Bowling Green University in Ohio for 10 years.

In addition, Bennett was awarded both a National Science Foundation graduate and postdoctoral fellowship, was a two-time scholar with the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and was a 2010 recipient of the Mathematical Association of America’s Franklin and Deborah Tepper Haimo Award for distinguished teaching, among other awards.

As part of his duties, Bennett will work with campus leaders on institutional awards such as National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions’ STEM programs.

Bennett replaces Laura Kingsford, who announced in September she would step down as CNSM dean to focus full-time on leading the university’s efforts surrounding BUILD, a campus-wide program offering intensive research-training opportunities for undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in health-related research. It is funded by the largest NIH grant in CSULB history, $22.7 million over five years.

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PHOTO BY KEVIN TRAN
Curtis D. Bennett

“I am very excited about becoming the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at CSULB, and it being the first endowed deanship in the university’s history makes it extra special,” said Bennett. “Dr. Kingsford’s leadership has left the college with a good foundation from which to build. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the students, faculty, staff and alumni. I am also looking forward to returning to public education in this exceptional opportunity to lead the college in its mission to extend scientific and mathematical knowledge and to educate and train the next generation of scientists and mathematicians.”

Bennett earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Colorado State University in 1985, and his Master of Science (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) at the University of Chicago.

CNSM is a leader in undergraduate and graduate student research. Housed in the state-of-the-art Hall of Science, the Molecular and Life Sciences Center, the Microbiology Building and Faculty Office 3, the college’s six departments offer 22 degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels and enrolls more than 4,400 students. This May, 667 students graduated from the college as part of CSULB’s class of 2017.