Bernadette T. Donovan-Merkert has been named interim dean of the College of Science, one of two colleges created from the reorganization of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, effective immediately. The name of the college is pending final approval from the Board of Trustees.
“This reorganization moves us closer to our goal of serving the Charlotte region and the state of North Carolina as a top-tier research university by allowing the two distinct colleges to become more focused in their areas of expertise,” said Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Jennifer Troyer. “Bernadette’s leadership over the past several months as interim divisional dean for the departments that now comprise the College of Science has been critical to the success of the transition. I know she will continue to help foster success in research and teaching within these departments.”
The new college comprises four science and math departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics and Optical Science.
Prior to serving as interim divisional dean of these departments, Donovan-Merkert was chair of the Department of Chemistry for over 18 years. She also led the design and implementation of the Nanoscale Science Ph.D. program and served as the program’s director. In these roles, she worked with faculty, staff and students to promote a departmental culture that embraced excellence in research, teaching and engagement. Under her leadership, the Chemistry Department’s funding portfolio grew substantially, from less than $500,000 in extramural funding in 2005 to over $3.5 million in 2022, including major grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.
“I have had the privilege of working with some of the most dedicated and talented faculty, staff and students during my career at UNC Charlotte,” said Donovan-Merkert. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the faculty, staff and students of the College of Science to support the University’s strategic plan by cultivating a college ecosystem that will facilitate student success, cutting-edge research, innovative teaching and engagement with the Charlotte region.”
Donovan-Merkert received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Duke University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Vermont. She held postdoctoral research associate positions at Dartmouth College and the University of Texas at Austin prior to her appointment as assistant professor of chemistry at UNC Charlotte in 1992. She was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and to the rank of professor in 2003.
Donovan-Merkert’s research focuses on electrochemically induced reactions of organometallic complexes. She has held leadership positions in professional organizations and was a long-time advocate for construction of the science building that opened in 2021. She was named a fellow of the American Chemical Society, was a finalist for the University’s highest teaching award, the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence, and received the Harshini V. de Silva Graduate Mentor Award, among many internal and external honors.