Dec 092010
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

Janice Nerger was announced as the new dean of the College of Natural Sciences earlier this week after beating out two other candidates because of her experience in the dean department.

“She really demonstrated that there was no question she could do the job,” said Rick Miranda, executive vice president and provost, and former dean of Natural Sciences.

The dean is responsible for setting the priorities of the college, managing the budget and overseeing all department activity. Every department chair reports to the dean.

“We give our deans quite a lot of responsibility, and they generally rise to the occasion,” Miranda said.

Nerger has been the interim dean of the college since Miranda’s promotion to provost in 2009.

During her time as interim dean, she raised the amount of indirect cost returns –– the percentage of a grant that goes directly to the university for research and is used to fund university operations –– by 11 percent. She also raised the research expenditure –– the amount of money that comes in via contracts and grants –– by 13 percent.

Nerger came to CSU as an assistant professor in psychology in 1989 after receiving her doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of California-San Diego and serving as a post-doctoral research fellow at NASA Ames Research Center.

“I excelled in the research environment but wanted to move into a traditional academic appointment that included undergraduate and graduate teaching,” she said in an e-mail to the Collegian.

Nerger was eventually promoted to a full professor in 2002 before being promoted to interim dean.

For the position of dean, she competed against both David Singel, the head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Montana State University, and Richard Kuhn, the head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University.

“She certainly was the best of the candidates,” said Paul Laybourn, the interim associate dean for the College of Natural Sciences.

Nerger said she hopes to increase the amount of “cutting-edge” research in the college during her tenure as dean and to inspire the next generation of scholars and researchers.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as dean of the College of Natural Sciences and look forward to working with students, faculty and staff across campus,” she said.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at

Meet the new dean of the college of natural sciences

  • Who: Janice Nerger, former interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences.
  • How Long: Been at CSU since 1989. Started out as an assistant professor in the Psychology Department.
  • Why: Beat out two other candidates for the position because of her experience as a dean.
  • Goal: Wishes to increase “cutting-edge” research at the university.
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