Professor Scott Michaels assumed the role of IU Department of Biology chair on July 1, 2021, as Professor Greg Demas stepped down from his four-year term as head of the department.
Both Demas and Michaels share a commitment to maintaining a scientifically and culturally diverse department. Demas considers it one of his biggest accomplishments during his term. Michaels lists it as one of his priorities.
"I’m grateful to Greg for leaving Biology in such great shape and will continue his efforts to build a diverse and welcoming department," said Michaels. "I plan to take advantage of opportunities to maintain, and hopefully improve, our already stellar research, teaching, and outreach activities. Recruiting talented and diverse faculty, postdocs, scientists, graduate students, and staff—along with improvements to infrastructure—are critical to Biology's success.
Michaels is quick to praise his predecessor.
"Greg has been a wonderful chair," said Michaels. "I’ve admired his calm demeanor and ability to keep his sense of humor under pressure—both of which were put to the test during the myriad of challenges that accompanied the pandemic."
The last nearly year and a half of his term found Demas navigating the challenging, stressful, and sometimes chaotic issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Demas was also quick to praise Michaels' leadership during the unprecedented time.
"We all spent countless hours dealing with pandemic-related issues and figuring out ways to manage them—or at least hold it together," Demas noted. "As the associate chair for research and facilities at the time, Scott did a truly outstanding job, including the handling of complicated space issues, with the utmost competence and professionalism. I have no doubt that he will bring a steady hand to the chair's seat."
Demas looks forward to his return to "civilian life." He plans to spend more time in his lab interacting with the students, sending (and receiving!) fewer emails, and refurbishing his endocrinology class which he will once again teach this year. As he hopes for a more normal and less stressful academic year in 2021-22, he's confident things will be fine.
"Scott brings to the position a wealth of new ideas and thoughtful intellect," Demas said. "The department is in good hands under Scott’s guidance."