Evan Riggs
Office of the Provost

Second College of Liberal Arts & Sciences executive dean candidate to present Oct. 19

Mon, 10/17/2022

LAWRENCE – The second candidate for the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) executive dean position will give a public presentation from 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the Beren Petroleum Conference Center in Slawson Hall.

The presentation will be livestreamed, and the passcode is 604135.

Arash Mafi is the second of four candidates who will present their vision for the College in today’s rapidly changing landscape of higher education. The College is the largest academic unit at the university, and the executive dean will strategically and collaboratively lead the school in its scholarly and educational contributions.

Mafi currently serves as the interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of New Mexico, a position he’s held since 2021. He joined the UNM faculty as an associate professor in 2014.

Each candidate will be announced approximately two business days before their scheduled campus visit. Public presentations for each of the candidates will take place in the Beren Petroleum Conference Center in Slawson Hall on the following dates:

  • Alfred J. López: 2-3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17
  • Arash Mafi: 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19
  • Candidate 3: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25
  • Candidate 4: 2-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to offer their impressions and observations of each candidate online through a limited-time feedback survey. Feedback on Mafi’s presentation is due by 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24. A recording of his presentation will be available the morning after the presentation on the search website until the survey closes.

Each candidate will meet with Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, senior administrators, College chairs and directors, deans, KU Endowment, the KU Alumni Association, university governance, graduate and undergraduate students and the College dean’s office executive committee and administrative staff.

As interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of New Mexico, Mafi oversees 24 academic departments and schools, 460 faculty and 300 staff members. UNM has one of the most diverse student bodies of any flagship university in the nation and is one of only a handful of R1 Hispanic-serving institutions. He previously served for five years as the director of the Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM), an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research center at UNM. Mafi also served one year as the chair for Optical Science and Engineering at UNM.

Mafi earned a bachelor’s in physics from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, a master’s in physics and a doctorate in theoretical particle physics from The Ohio State University, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in particle physics and photonics. He worked as a senior research scientist for four years at Corning, primarily focusing on optical communications, before returning to academia as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He joined UNM in 2014, where he is currently a full professor of physics and astronomy in addition to serving as interim dean.

Mafi is a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics and the Optical Society. Additionally, he is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His research has resulted in high-impact publications in several disciplines.

About the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

The approximately 11,000 undergraduates, 1,700 graduate students, 700 faculty and 375 staff who comprise the KU CLAS share a commitment to excellence. The College provides students with a broad foundation of arts, liberal arts and sciences concepts that will expand what they know and provide new ways of thinking about challenges.

The College is home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, as well as the School of the Arts and School of Public Affairs & Administration. Those departments, programs and centers offer more than 150 majors, minors and certificates, which prepare students with fundamental skills and knowledge that will serve them in any career.

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