by Greg St. Martin
Northeastern University has appointed Kenneth W. Henderson dean of the College of Science, effective July 1, 2016. A scholar of synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry, Henderson is a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame.
Henderson also serves as senior assistant provost for internationalization at Notre Dame, a role in which he is a member of a leadership team that develops undergraduate programs and strategic international partnerships for research collaborations. As a provost’s fellow from 2011 to 2013, he led the development of guidelines for appointing and promoting research faculty.
“Ken brings great experience in growing research and external funding in a private university,” said James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern. “He also has great vision for how the College of Science can power the broader university mission.”
Henderson chairs the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with an operational budget of $6.5 million and receives about $19 million in annual research awards. He oversees three research core facilities, and leads a department of more than 60 faculty members, 20 staff, 36 postdoctoral researchers, and 187 graduate students.
From 2011 to 2013, Henderson also led an advisory group for the university deans, vice presidents, and provost to develop and implement strategies to improve the visibility and standing of the university among its academic peers.
Henderson joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2002 as associate professor, and ascended to full professor in 2007. His research interests are in organometallic chemistry, materials chemistry, and molecular electronics. One particular area of focus is creating materials that will be of use in next generation computational technologies. From 2009 to 2013 he served as associate director of Notre Dame’s Center for Sustainable Energy, an interdisciplinary enterprise dedicated to energy-related research and education.
Prior to Notre Dame, Henderson was a Royal Society University Research Fellow and later a senior lecturer—a rank equivalent to associate professor in the U.S.—at the University of Strathclyde in the U.K. He did his postdoctoral research work at Brown University.
Henderson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a member of the American Chemical Society and the Council for Chemical Research. He has co-authored more than 100 scientific publications, and his research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Royal Society, and many other prominent organizations and entities.
“I am delighted to join Northeastern University and the College of Science,” Henderson said. “Northeastern holds a unique position in the U.S. with a distinctive vision as a global, experiential, research intensive university, and I am excited to be a part of the team in such a dynamic environment. I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty, staff, students, and friends of the college in fulfilling the mission of the university.”
Henderson was born in Scotland and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate, both in chemistry, from the University of Strathclyde.
Henderson succeeds Jon Tilly, who has been serving as interim dean and will continue that role until Henderson transitions into his new position at Northeastern.