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New dean appointed for College of Arts and Sciences

Friday, Jan. 30, 2004

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 30, 2004 Santa Clara University announced the appointment of W. Atom Yee as dean of the college of arts and sciences. For the past eighteen months, Yee, a professor of chemistry, has been acting dean.

"I am extremely pleased to be taking over as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Yee. “The College has gained national reputation for its academic excellence in teaching, scholarship, and artistic expression. I look forward to working with our distinguished faculty, staff, and students in leading the College forward in exciting new directions."

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest academic unit on campus, encompassing approximately 60 percent of all undergraduate students, and about half of the University faculty.  Comprising 18 departments and offering 38 majors, the College also provides a liberal arts curriculum, including the core requirements, to all undergraduate students.

"Atom Yee was the top choice in a very strong field," said Phil Kesten, associate professor of physics at SCU and head of the search committee.

Yee earned a bachelor of science degree from Yale University, and a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, both in chemistry. He came to Santa Clara University in 1983 after four years as assistant professor at the State University of New York, College at Purchase, and then two years as visiting assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

In announcing the selection, SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J. said, "Atom Yee's leadership, scholarship, and vision will take the College of Arts and Sciences to a new level of intellectual excellence in teaching, learning, research, and service to the community.  His experience in higher education, along with his commitment to Jesuit education at Santa Clara, will help to achieve our ideal of student-centered learning that educates future leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, and of faculty becoming teaching scholars."

Yee’s priorities as dean will be to assist the University in further development of the Residential Learning Communities (RLCs), the initiation and implementation of a systematic program review process, and promoting the Teaching Scholar model.

Yee’s research focuses on chemical reactions initiated by absorption of ultraviolet light.  He has contributed numerous articles to scientific journals and is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society and the Western Spectroscopy Association.  He was elected to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities in 1998, and has served on a number of WASC visiting teams as an evaluator for curriculum, faculty, diversity issues, and student services.  Yee is also a member of the Chinese American Chemical Society and the Council on Undergraduate Research.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus masters and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. masters' universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at

<p>Chemistry professor is new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.</p>

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