Dr. Jim Belcher of Fort Smith has been named head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.
Belcher, who has served in the interim position for the past year, “possesses the vision to carry the department forward,” according to Dr. Mark Arant of Muldrow, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Belcher graduated with his doctorate from the Thermal Acoustic Program at the National Center for Physical Acoustics Research Center at the University of Mississippi in 1996. His primary research interests are thermal acoustics, curriculum development and STEM education.
Since Belcher already holds the department head position in physical sciences, Drs. Sean Curtis and Linus Yu, both of Fort Smith, will serve as assistant department heads for their respective programs.
Curtis received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from SUNY Stony Brook in 2003 and has been teaching various chemistry courses at UAFS since 2007. He was promoted in July 2012 from assistant to associate professor. His research projects involve various aspects of organic chemistry.
Yu received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the State University of New York at Buffalo and has worked at UAFS since then. His research interest is in dynamical systems.
Dr. Ray Wallace of Fort Smith, UAFS provost and senior vice chancellor, called Belcher’s department “very strong.”
“Dr. Belcher will lead 29 full-time faculty members in mathematics, physics, geology, and chemistry,” said Wallace. “Under his interim leadership this past year, four academic programs in these disciplines were modified, and three additional programs are under construction.”
Wallace said more students are majoring in chemistry and mathematics than ever before.
“Retention rates are increasing in all majors, and mathematics will see its largest number of graduation applications in recent years,” he said.
Wallace had high praise for the math and science faculty.
“In the 2011-12 academic term, this fine faculty in chemistry,physical science and mathematics taught 6,900 students,” he said. “I am pleased Dr. Belcher has the required skill set to lead impressive, great faculty as they prepare the next generation of UAFS graduates.”