Release: Nov. 20, 2017
GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College President Sean Decatur has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The honor is given in recognition of scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Decatur was chosen for the award for his exemplary research, teaching, and leadership at Kenyon as well as at his previous institutions, Oberlin College and Mount Holyoke College. Decatur’s work as a national advocate for incorporating research into undergraduate education also contributed to his selection as a Fellow.
Under Decatur’s leadership, Kenyon has undergone a vast expansion of its science programs and student research opportunities. In June, the College received a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Initiative to boost efforts to recruit and advance students traditionally underrepresented in science education. In 2016, the National Science Foundation awarded Kenyon a grant of nearly $1 million to study how high-impact practices such as internships and research with faculty can help science students achieve career success. In early 2017, Kenyon expanded its science program with the addition of an environmental studies major.
Decatur earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors at Swarthmore College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1990. He earned his doctorate in biophysical chemistry at Stanford University in 1995. As a faculty member at Mount Holyoke, Decatur helped establish a top research program in biophysical chemistry as well as unique courses, including a race-and-science lecture series. As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin, he helped lead a review of major curricular requirements to bring more focus to the academic program. Decatur is the author of numerous scholarly articles and has received national awards for his work, including a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 1999 and a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2003.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, among others. Founded in 1848, AAAS includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The AAAS Fellows tradition began in 1874, and this year 396 AAAS members were named Fellows.