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Headshot of Chris Clemens

photo by Dan Sears

Clemens named UNC’s chief academic officer

Chris Clemens, Jaroslav Folda Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was named UNC provost — the University’s chief academic officer — in February.

Clemens joined the physics and astronomy department as an accomplished astrophysicist in 1998. Since then, he has served as chair of physics and astronomy, senior associate dean for natural sciences and senior associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Arts & Sciences.

He is the recipient of a Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement and a Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring.

Clemens was instrumental in launching the College’s Program for Public Discourse in 2019, serving as its inaugural director. Through curricular and extracurricular programs, the PPD seeks to support a culture of debate and deliberation, enabling Carolina students to be better citizens, leaders and stewards of democracy.

In March 2019, Clemens was named the inaugural senior associate dean for research and innovation, where he led strategic planning and provided guidance across the College’s academic divisions and research programs, fostering new models of innovation, initiatives and collaborations.

Before that, as senior associate dean for natural sciences, Clemens helped to launch the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program. He collaborated with chairs to build the research enterprise and helped to develop the curriculum in the applied physical sciences and biomedical engineering departments. Clemens also drafted a plan and funding proposal for the pilot of the Institute for Convergent Science.