Dr. Karen Bjorkman, a leading scholar in the field of astrophysics and The University of Toledo’s most senior dean, has been named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
Bjorkman, whose appointment to the permanent post is effective Jan. 13, had served as the interim provost since Jan. 15, 2019. She previously served as the dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from 2010 to 2019.“Dr. Bjorkman has demonstrated throughout her academic career a passion for our educational mission and is, above all else, committed to student and faculty success,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We have made great progress on achieving the goals set forth in our strategic plan, including increased retention rates and record-high graduation rates. Under her leadership, I know we will continue to enhance the educational experience for our students and opportunities for faculty scholarly research and service activity.”
Bjorkman, also a Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and the Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy, has been a member of the UToledo faculty since 1996 when she joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the University in this leadership role,” Bjorkman said. “I look forward to working with our outstanding deans and faculty across all of our colleges to realize our collective vision of being a nationally ranked, public research university.”
Bjorkman is a leader in the research field of stellar astrophysics, applying spectropolarimetry to better understand the variable gaseous disks around massive stars. Her research has focused on studying the physical characteristics of these disks and the mechanisms behind their formation and variability.
In 2017, Bjorkman was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society, in recognition of her important contributions to scientific discovery.
“Our students, faculty and scholars are champions in our pursuit to improve the human condition. They are internationally recognized for their expertise in research, teaching and clinical practice. It is my honor to work with them in achieving our educational mission,” Bjorkman said.
Prior to joining UToledo, Bjorkman was a scientist in the University of Wisconsin’s Space Astronomy Laboratory and a systems engineer for Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace.