University News

WIU Fills Chemistry Chair, Faculy Position with Dual Hire

March 22, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - A professional teaching and research couple from the University of Arkansas at Monticello have been hired into the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Illinois University, according to College Dean Inessa Levi.

“Once again, through use of WIU’s dual career recruitment program, we have been able to attract two outstanding faculty to the department of chemistry,” Levi said.

Rose Marie McConnell has been named chair of chemistry, effective July 1.
J. Scott McConnell will join WIU as the associate director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and an associate professor of chemistry, effective July 1.

“We look forward to welcoming Rose Marie McConnell to Western’s College of Arts and Sciences as our newest chemistry chair, Levi said. “She brings with her 18 years of teaching and externally funded research experience; and she has a strong commitment to undergraduate research, making her an outstanding addition to our college.

“Scott has been listed as the principal investigator on $1.3 million of external grants. His primary research interest is environmental chemistry and sciences, and like Rose, he is dedicated to undergraduate research,” Levi added.

“I also thank Vivian Incera, who, as chair of physics, stepped in as interim chair of chemistry in July 2005. It is through her leadership we have been able to enhance and expand the programs in chemistry this past year. I am grateful for her excellent and unwavering service during this time of transition,” Levi said.

Rose Marie McConnell has taught and conducted research at UAM since 1992. She is the principal investigator on 17 external grants totaling more than $1 million. In 2004 she was voted teacher of the year by students in Alpha Chi honor society; and she was the university’s nomination for U.S. Professor of the Year, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

McConnell currently is conducting research funded by the National Cancer Institute on developing and testing inhibitors of cathepsin D and B, which are linked to metastatic cancer. She also plans to continue researching in the field on polymer and material science.

Scott McConnell comes to Western from his position as associate professor in the department of crops, soils and environmental sciences. In addition to teaching, he has supervised more than 50 undergraduate research student projects. He has chaired national scientific committees and national educational programs and was a member of the founding committee for the Journal of Cotton Science (1997).

McConnell’s current research focus is on environmental and soil chemistry; natural water chemistry, composition and quality; soil fertility and plant nutrient dynamics; water and irrigation factors in the environment; and soil management and tillage.

Rose Marie McConnell, who serves as a referee for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and the Journal of Organic Chemistry, earned her B.S. at Arkansas State University (1979) and Ph.D. at Texas A&M University (1983). She also completed a postdoctoral in biochemistry at Texas A&M (1984).

Scott McConnell earned his B.S.A. in plant sciences (1978) and M.S. in chemistry (1979) at Arkansas State University and his Ph.D. in environmental soil chemistry at Texas A&M University (1984).

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