COSAM News Articles 2021 August Message from the Interim Dean

Message from the Interim Dean

Published: 08/17/2021

By: Dean Thomas

Greetings to all COSAM faculty, staff, and students,

I would like to welcome you all to the start of the 2021-2022 academic year.  The start of a new academic year is always a time of excitement as we welcome new students, faculty, and staff to the university.  COSAM has experienced a number of changes during this summer and I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a few brief updates.

First, we have several important changes in the COSAM leadership team.  As most of you know, Dr. Nick Giordano is in the final stages of transitioning back to the faculty after leading COSAM for the last eight years.  Additionally, Prof. Scott Santos has stepped down as the Chair of Biological Sciences and will be taking a position as the Empire Innovation Professor at University at Buffalo later this year.  I want to express my thanks to both of them for their leadership and friendship.  On behalf of COSAM, I wish them the very best for the next stages of their careers.

In the Department of Biological Sciences, Prof. Mary Mendonça has graciously agreed to serve as the Interim Department Chair.  We have just started the process to search for the next department chair.  Beginning today, I have started serving as the Interim Dean of COSAM until the selection of a new Dean.  And, Dr. Mark Liles will be serving as the Acting Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

Second, we are starting another academic year under the thread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Everyone is reminded that Auburn University is currently operating under a mandatory indoor face covering policy.  The Provost Office has told us that 75% of Auburn faculty and staff have already been vaccinated and we strongly encourage all faculty, staff, and students to take advantage of the vaccines as the science tells us that that they are the best tool we have for emerging from the pandemic.

We know that this is not how we envisioned the start of the new academic year, but the University leadership and COSAM leadership team are closely monitoring the public health situation.  Please reach out to your supervisors, department chairs, or to me with any questions or concerns that you may have.

Finally, I would like to invite all of you to join me in a virtual open forum on Tuesday, August 24 from 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm where I will be happy to have a dialogue about my plans for the college in the upcoming year.  A Zoom link will be sent to everyone that morning.

I wish you all the very best for a safe, productive, and healthy semester.

Ed Thomas


Edward Thomas, Jr., Ph.D.
Interim Dean, College of Sciences and Mathematics
Professor of Physics
Auburn University, Auburn, AL  36849-5311
Office:  334-844-5737 | Email:

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