As interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Karl Voss gained valuable insight into the management of the University's largest and most academically diverse college. Voss will now get to apply that knowledge in a more strategic way as he becomes the college's permanent dean, effective May 1.
A Bucknell mathematics professor since 1999 who chaired the department from 2008-12, Voss was offered the position following a national search.
"Karl rose to the top of a strong national pool of candidates for what was a very desirable position," said Provost Barbara Altmann, who co-chaired the 13-member search committee. "Over his 18 months as interim dean, Karl deepened his understanding of the richness and complexity of Arts & Sciences, and demonstrated to everyone he spoke with during the interview that he is ready to lead all three divisions of the college at this turning point in its history."
With research interests in partial differential equations, applied mathematics and complex analysis, Voss sees an advantage to applying his mathematical expertise to the complexities of being dean of such a diverse college.
"There are two advantages to being a mathematician. First, I'm comfortable using data to think about things in an analytical manner," he said. "Second, mathematics is at the very core of life at the University. All engineering students and most management students pass through mathematics. So being a mathematician gives you a special view of the breadth of the student body."
Those skills will prove immediately valuable, as one of his first priorities will be to guide the college through the University's current strategic planning initiative.
"Karl began moving Arts & Sciences toward strategic planning last year and can now launch that important process knowing that he will be at the helm for both planning and implementation," Altmann said. "His intelligence, clear thinking, principled leadership and good humor are tremendous assets to Arts & Sciences, and to all of Bucknell. He will be a superb dean."
Approximately 65 percent of Bucknell students have majors in the College of Arts & Sciences, which comprises the divisions of arts & humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences. The college includes 281 faculty members in 31 departments and interdisciplinary programs offering 47 majors and 62 minors.
Voss envisions even greater interdisciplinary engagement with the College of Engineering and the College of Management in the future.
"The College of Arts & Sciences adds value to the education of engineers and managers [through required courses]," he said. "As dean, I want to figure out how we can create even more structures and connections to share the expertise of faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Management with our students too."
Voss holds master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Yale University. He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics and history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to coming to Bucknell, he was S. Chowla Research Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University from 1996-99.
He is co-author of the forthcoming book Blaschke Products, Poncelet's Theorem and the Numerical Range: Geometric Conventions, which will be published by the American Mathematical Society.
Voss succeeds George Shields, who became vice president for academic affairs and provost at Furman University in May 2016.