Physicist named Stanford vice provost and dean of research

May 30, 2018, 12:48 a.m.

Kathryn Moler ’88 Ph.D. ’95, a material physicist and senior associate dean of natural sciences in the School of Humanities and Sciences, has been named vice provost and dean of research, Provost Persis Drell announced Tuesday.

Moler will succeed current Stanford Research Dean Ann Arvin on Sept. 1.

Physicist named Stanford vice provost and dean of research
(LINDA CICERO/Stanford News)

Drell praised Moler as an “excellent scientist,” noting her vision for the future of research at Stanford and long-running advocacy for expanded faculty resources and shared research facilities.

“[Moler] brings strategic vision and comprehensive leadership experience supporting multiple school departments to the job,” Drell said in an interview with Stanford News. “I am very excited she will be joining the university leadership team.”

Moler co-chaired the Area Steering Group on research during the University’s long-range planning process. During that phase of long-range planning, ideas submitted by the Stanford community to increase the impact of University research included new platforms for shared research, internal grant programs and cross-university research resources.

Moler, who has been a long-time champion of sharing cutting-edge equipment, seeks to implement those ideas as dean.

“We have the ability to exert transformative impacts on knowledge and on society through our scholarship, which we can accelerate with new research platforms,” Moler said.

In her new role, Moler will oversee research facilities, laboratories, institutes and centers that engage faculty and students in scientific and humanistic research across the University. She will also oversee offices – such as the offices of Environment Health and Safety and Scientific Outreach – which provide institutional oversight of Stanford’s research enterprise.

As senior associate dean for the natural sciences, Moler oversaw six academic departments, including the departments of Applied Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Her University leadership experience also extends to the 48th Faculty Senate, which she chaired in 2015-16, as well as the University Budget Group and the 2016 Presidential Search Committee.

In an interview with Stanford News, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne commended Moler’s commitment to “curiosity-driven” research in service to the world.

“She is a passionate advocate both for foundational, curiosity-driven research and for applied research,” Tessier-Lavigne said.

Moler earned her bachelor’s degree and doctorate in Physics at Stanford. Subsequently, she became the first woman to be on faculty in Stanford’s applied physics department in 1998.

Currently, she conducts research in nanotechnology and focuses primarily on magnetic imagining and quantum materials and devices.

Speaking fondly of her predecessor, Arvin, Moler said that she is “excited to work with people throughout the research enterprise to build on [Arvin’s] contributions and to support and advance our research contributions.”


Contact Yasmin Samrai at ysamrai ‘at’

Yasmin Samrai ’21 is a Desk Editor for Local. She hails from London, UK. She loves traveling, listening to 80s music and sipping Earl Grey tea. Feel free to ask her about her favourite James Bond or talk politics. Contact her at ysamrai ‘at’

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