As Furman’s chief academic officer, Shields will be responsible for the faculty and related administrative departments that support all undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs. He will begin his new duties at Furman on July 1.
“George Shields is a seasoned academic and administrative leader who understands Furman’s unique strengths and shares our vision for significantly enhancing the student experience,” Davis said. “He will help us advance our academic reputation, expand the impact and reach of our centers and institutes, and demonstrate to prospective students the lifelong value of a Furman education. I am pleased that Dr. Shields has accepted this critically important position at Furman and we look forward to his joining us.”
Shields joined Bucknell in 2010 as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, where he also oversees the university’s School of Management and is a professor in the department of chemistry.
“I am delighted to be joining Furman,” Shields said. “Furman provides an outstanding education to students, and is dedicated to solving the pressing social issues of our time. Students come to Furman because they want to make a difference with their lives, and the transformational nature of a Furman education provided by the faculty and staff prepares them to lead lives that matter. I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead the academic enterprise.”
Before coming to Bucknell, Shields served as the founding dean of the College of Science and Technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., where he was also a professor of chemistry in the department of chemistry and physics.
Shields has been the Winslow Professor of Chemistry and chair of the department at Hamilton College. Before that, he held various faculty and administrative posts at Lake Forest College. He is founder and director of the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry (MERCURY), a collaboration of 27 undergraduate research teams at 24 different institutions.
Shields has a national reputation in the field of undergraduate research, having collaborated with more than 100 undergraduate students in the fields of computational chemistry, structural biochemistry and science education. He has received approximately $6 million in research grants from numerous foundations and funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Research Corporation.
Shields received the 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and he currently serves on the executive board of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). He has also been elected three times as a CUR Councilor, is a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar, and serves on the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry editorial advisory board.
Shields received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and a doctorate in physical chemistry all from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His postdoctoral research on protein-DNA interactions at Yale University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was conducted in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate.