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Monday, August 3, 2020

Faculty & Staff

NSM dean embarks on new role


College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean John L. Bear said he will miss the faculty and students most when he steps down to work alongside Provost John Antel. | Steven Oster/The Houstonian

Click here to read our Q and A session with John Bear

After leading the College of Natural Science and Mathematics for 18 years, John Bear has decided to step down as dean to work alongside Provost John Antel in hiring faculty and staff.

This was not an easy decision for Bear, who said he has enjoyed his time as NSM’s dean.

“It is time to step down and basically let the college change direction,” Bear said. “In essence, the college is very strong right now. It has a lot of things going for it, and it is a good time to step down and let somebody take over and move it to the next level of excellence that the University wants.”

Bear said his choice to work with Antel has been bittersweet because although he is excited to move to a higher position, he will miss his colleagues and students at NSM.

“The biggest thing that you miss is your relationship with faculty. If you look at the faculty in this college, I hired most of them. Every faculty member is a good friend of mine,” Bear said. “The students, I will miss because I have always tried to have a very good relationship (with them). Every six weeks, I have meetings with all the students leaders.”

Bear said he is pleased with what NSM’s developments and accomplishments during his 18 years as dean.

“If you look at the numbers that have taken place in total enrollment, research funding, number of graduates, diversity and faculty, you can find a growth in each department,” Bear said. “The growth in terms of quality of the faculty really determines the quality of the college.

“We have, right now, four members of the National Academy in the college, which a lot of the universities don’t have,” he said.

Bear also thanks the alumni for playing a big role in the college’s success.

“Alumni are always important,” Bear said. “Your graduates are people who you can rely on to help you. The alumni is part of your history in the sense that they graduate and have good jobs and should be able to help you.”

In Fall 1992, Bear’s first semester as dean, 3,650 students were enrolled in NSM. After 18 years with Bear as dean, that number has increased to 4,561.

Bear said he doesn’t have any expectations for his replacement, but hopes that person will be dynamic enough to move NSM to greater heights. He believes with the right leadership, NSM’s best days are still ahead because its devoted faculty and students.

“We have a strategic plan; a five year plan,” he said. “An example is the hiring we have done in terms of the three initiatives that the president has set up to have, which are the health initiative, the energy initiative and the student success initiative.”

Bear said he is optimistic of the future and believes UH is on the verge of becoming a truly great University.

“[UH] president [Renu Khator] has the right ideas. She is enthusiastic, and that is very contagious,” he said. “The faculty likes her optimism for the future, and she has plans and objectives that are very high. She is shooting high, and everybody likes that. The University in general wants to become a great university.”

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