Windus appointed new chair of chemistry department

Portrait of Theresa Windus next to an aerial view of the Iowa State campus

Theresa Windus, LAS Dean’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, was selected as the new chair of Iowa State University’s Department of Chemistry.

Windus, a computational chemist, develops methods and algorithms for high performance computational chemistry and collaborates with scientist in an extensive range of fields to drive innovation and create efficiencies in basic and applied research. She conducts her work as an Iowa State professor and a U.S. Department of Energy Ames National Laboratory senior scientist.

“Theresa has a robust array of qualifications that will make her an excellent department chair,” Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. “She is a distinguished scientist, an excellent teacher, a strategic leader, and she also has a stellar reputation for collaboration and mentoring.”

A fellow of the American Chemical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Windus has been recognized by her peers and prestigious institutions for her innovative research. She has published extensively and completed editorial service for journals such as the Journal of Chemical Physics, the Journal of Computational Science Education, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B/C. In addition to research excellence, she’s also received multiple awards for teaching and mentoring.

She has served in a variety of leadership roles, including technical group leader for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Molecular Sciences Software Group, deputy director for the National Science Foundation Molecular Sciences Software Institute, and most recently, director for the Department of Energy NWChemEx exascale project.

Some of Windus’ goals as chair include expanding the department’s efforts in recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and students; increasing department awareness and national rankings; and continuous improvement in curriculum and other areas.

“We have a wonderful department that is well-known for its research, teaching, and service. One of my goals is to extend that reputation further, both nationally and internationally, through coordinated communication campaigns, alumni and stakeholder networks, appropriate improvements in our undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and recruiting and retention efforts. This is a collaborative, long-term effort involving the whole department, LAS and University staff and administration, and external participants. Fortunately, we have great people in place to ensure success!” Windus said.

Windus received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Iowa State University. She officially began her new role on January 1, 2024.