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Fresno State welcomes new dean of college of science and mathematics

Dr. Christopher R. Meyer will become the new dean of Fresno State’s College of Science of Mathematics in the summer.

Meyer brings a personal knowledge of California’s higher education system.

“I am passionate about making a positive impact at Fresno [State] and helping catalyze success,” Meyer said.

Meyer is currently a program director in the division of biological infrastructure for the National Science Foundation, based in Virginia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California State University, Chico and his doctorate in biochemistry from University of California, Riverside. In addition, he has served as a professor and a chair at California State University, Fullerton.

“My service at NSF has given me a broader perspective on science and education,” Meyer said.

Provost Lynnette Zelezny, who is vice president for academic affairs at Fresno State, said that when she interviewed Meyer, it appealed to her that he has experience with the California State University system, both as an undergraduate student and in his career.

“He’s very familiar with regional issues that we face in the Central Valley,” Zelezny said.

Meyer said some characteristics are distinct to the Central Valley, and could be used for greater purposes.

“The natural connections to agriculture in the region can facilitate some very innovative research collaborations and partnerships between the colleges, other universities, as well as industry centered on food, water and energy,” Meyer said.

Added Zelezny: “The first thing he said to me was, ‘I have a vision for the college to work collaboratively with other colleges on food, water and energy.’”

Constance Jones, dean of the psychology department, served as the chair of the search committee for the position.

“Dr. Meyer stood out in terms of his expertise with the California State University system and with the National Science Foundation. He came to campus with a lot of energy and ideas,” Jones said.

Jones said that because Meyer has studied in universities in California, he “understands California’s values and educational system.”

Zelezny said Meyer is also focused on providing funding for Fresno State.

“I’m very excited that he already identified a number of grants that are great fits for Fresno State,” Zelezny said.

She said large initiatives often are funded by grants.

“I think he’ll bring a great leadership style that’s very in line with the values of Fresno State, which is very student-focused,” Zelezny said.