David Vanden Bout Appointed Dean of College of Natural Sciences

Dear UT Community,

I am delighted to announce that David Vanden Bout will serve as the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences, effective immediately. He has served as interim dean since March 2021, and he previously served as interim dean in 2018.

His deep understanding of the institution, along with his steady, strategic, and thoughtful leadership, stood out during our national search for the dean. Dean Vanden Bout brings an unwavering passion for the success of others, and the college has benefitted tremendously from his many contributions.

Vanden Bout joined the UT faculty in 1997 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, and his research focuses on the use of spectroscopy and imaging techniques to better understand how different materials transport and transfer energy.

Since 2014, he has overseen core aspects of the largest college at the university as senior associate dean and associate dean. In these roles he helped lead efforts encompassing nearly 13,000 students, 700 faculty members and 1,300 staff members, and spanning a wide range of science disciplines and at multiple sites, including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, and the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis.

His leadership contributions have been significant. As associate dean and later as senior associate dean, Vanden Bout played a central role in the college’s efforts to improve four-year graduation rates, which increased from 50% in 2014 to 74% in 2020. He also spearheaded efforts to expand access to the college’s signature experiential learning program, the Freshman Research Initiative. He has overseen the hiring of dozens of faculty members and worked collaboratively to advance a culture that recognizes excellence in science, teaching and service.

His leadership contributions have also been recognized nationally, most recently as the inaugural recipient of GlobalMindedED’s Inclusive Leader Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership in equity and inclusivity. He was named a Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. He was also recognized with a UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

We are fortunate to have Dean Vanden Bout’s strong, dedicated and thoughtful leadership of the College of Natural Sciences for years to come.

Please join me in congratulating Dean Vanden Bout.


Sharon L. Wood


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