UAB announces Robert Palazzo as College of Arts & Sciences dean

Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D., former UAB College of Arts and Sciences interim dean has been named CAS dean.

robert_palazzo_webUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Provost Linda Lucas today announced that Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D., has been named dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), effective June 1, 2013.

Palazzo has served as the CAS interim dean since October 1, 2012.

“I could not be more pleased with Dr. Palazzo’s performance as interim dean, and it is with great excitement that I announce his appointment as dean,” Lucas said. “He has worked effectively with faculty, staff and students across the college, from the sciences to the performing arts.”

Palazzo came to UAB while taking a leave from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y., where he had been a professor of biology since 2002. Palazzo was provost of RPI from 2007 to 2011, and he served as acting provost prior to that. He was the acting director and director of the Institute’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies from 2004 to 2006. Palazzo was chair of the biology department there from 2002 to 2005.

“Dean Palazzo has shown a great commitment to UAB, and he has extensive experience as an educator, researcher, leader and mentor,” Lucas said. “I look forward to a very bright future for the CAS.”

The CAS is home to academic disciplines that include the arts, humanities and sciences. It was created after an academic realignment commission reviewed and assessed various options for the organization of UAB’s non-medical schools in 2009.

“In the College of Arts and Sciences, I have found a community of wise and trusted scholars built on transparency, communication and trust,” Palazzo said. “The mutual appreciation of the relevance of instruction in their shared fields of humanities and the arts, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics and the natural sciences makes the College a unique place for students to learn and to grow. I am honored to have been considered for the position of dean.”

Committed to the UAB spirit of independence and innovation, the college enables students to design their own majors, participate in undergraduate or graduate research or complete graduate degrees on a five-year fast track. Through productive partnerships, flexible curricula and a bold, interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, the college is preparing students for success in the ever-changing global marketplace of commerce and ideas.

“I am deeply impressed by the intellectual breadth, scholarship and the sense of rigor exhibited by the College of Arts and Sciences faculty,” Palazzo said. “Their commitment to the students is obvious and inspiring. The College will play a crucial role in strengthening the international reputation of UAB and the city of Birmingham.”  

Palazzo earned his doctoral degree in biological sciences at Wayne State University in 1984; he received his bachelor’s degree in biology there in 1979. He also spent a year as a research associate and completed a three-year post doctorate in the University of Virginia’s biology department.

His previous experience includes serving as a visiting professor at Harvard University Medical School and 10 years with the University of Kansas in a variety of roles, including chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and professor for the Department of Molecular Biosciences. Prior to his work in Kansas, Palazzo spent three years as an assistant scientist and principal investigator for the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Palazzo is on the board of advisors for Scientific American Magazine. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Society for Cell Biology and a Corporation Member of the Marine Biological Laboratory. He is widely published in scientific journals.

His research interests include centrosomes and cellular organization, cell replication and cancer, fertilization and reproduction, regulation of cell motility and drug discovery.