Obare named interim vice president for research

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of Dr. Sherine Obare.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A researcher with a long track record of attracting external funding and collaborating on international research efforts has been named Western Michigan University's interim vice president for research.

Dr. Sherine O. Obare, who has been serving since December 2016 as associate vice president for research, will assume the leadership role charged with guiding the University's research agenda. Her appointment is effective Aug. 1 and was made pending approval by the WMU Board of Trustees. She replaces Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, who has served as vice president for research since 2010 and is returning to the faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Obare is expected to serve in her interim role for a minimum of six months, while the University undertakes a national search for a permanent vice president for research. Her appointment was announced by WMU President John M. Dunn, who is retiring this summer, as well. Dunn made the decision to appoint Obare in consultation with President-Designate Edward B. Montgomery, who is scheduled to become WMU's ninth president on Aug. 1.

"Dr. Obare brings to her new role a wealth of research experience and extraordinary success in the federal funding arena," Dunn says. "She also has a strong administrative background and a deep commitment to mentoring the next generation of young researchers. Her leadership will allow our research initiatives to continue unabated while we fill this critical position for the long term."


A tenured full professor of chemistry who has been a WMU faculty member since 2004, Obare came to the University after completing a two-year Camille and Henry Dreyfus postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She earned a bachelor's degree from West Virginia State University in 1998 and a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of South Carolina in 2002.

Prior to becoming associate vice president for research, Obare served for nearly two years as an interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She also held the positions of associate chair and graduate advisor for the Department of Chemistry. In her various positions at WMU, she has served as a mentor to postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and high school and middle school students.

Obare's career at WMU has been characterized by research success and a number of accolades. She has garnered more than $4.5 million in external funding for her work, which includes developing materials for the detection and remediation of biological and chemical pollutants and understanding the environmental and health hazards of emerging materials. In addition, she has focused on developing strategies to improve education in the chemical sciences.

National awards she has received include the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2006, the George Washington Carver Teaching Excellence Award in 2009, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Young Observer Award in 2009, the American Competitiveness and Innovation Award from the NSF's Division of Materials Research in 2010 and the Lloyd Ferguson Young Investigator Award in 2010. In 2013, she was named one of the top-25 women professors in the state by Online Schools Michigan.

Obare has served as associate editor for the Journal of Nanomaterials since 2008 and has contributed to national research reports, including the 2011 NSF report titled Nanomaterials and the Environment: The Chemistry and Materials Perspective.

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