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The dean of the UNM College of Arts & Sciences is taking on a similar position at the University of Kansas: UNM Newsroom

Arash Mafi, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico, has accepted a similar position as Executive Dean for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. Mafi will take up his new position at the KU on March 1, 2023.

“Arash Mafi was an exceptional colleague,” said UNM Provost James Holloway. “He took charge of our largest and most complex college at a very challenging time and has moved the college forward with humility and humanity. I feel privileged to have worked with him.”

Arash Mafi 180

Arash Mafi

Holloway has launched a national search for the next dean for the UNM College of Arts & Sciences; Details can be found on the Executive Search website. In the meantime, effective March 1, 2023, Professor Janie Chermak, currently Chair of Economics, will assume the role of Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences until the next Dean arrives in late summer 2023.

Mafi will be the college’s first executive dean, a title reflecting the size of the organization and the range of scholarships and academics available through its staff, departments, programs and research centers. The college is home to about 50 departments, programs and centers, as well as the School of the Arts and the School of Public Affairs & Administration. Offering more than 150 majors, minors, and certificates, these departments, programs, and centers prepare students with essential skills and knowledge that will serve them in any career.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as interim dean of the college, and I am grateful to Provost Holloway for placing his trust in me,” Mafi said. “I have benefited tremendously from working with outstanding and dedicated colleagues, including those in the Dean’s Office, Chairs and Directors, and faculty and staff throughout the College and beyond. UNM and New Mexico have provided me with countless personal and professional opportunities for which I am forever grateful. I sincerely thank all my colleagues, faculty and staff, and students for this incredible journey.”

An accomplished researcher, Mafi has served as interim dean at the College of Arts and Sciences since July 2021. He is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy and held the Chair in Optical Science and Engineering before moving to the position of Director at the Center for High Tech Materials (CHTM) in 2016. Mafi joined in 2014 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to UNM.

Mafi is a Fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), a Fellow of Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America), and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His research has resulted in influential publications in multiple disciplines. His research has received ongoing funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DoD), and industry.

Mafi received his BS degree in Physics from Sharif University of Technology in Iran and his MS and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Ohio State University.

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