President Peter Salovey announced W. Mark Saltzman, the Goizueta Foundation Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, as the next head of Jonathan Edwards College (JE) on May 5 to students in the JE dining hall.
Saltzman has been a member of the Yale faculty since 2002, with appointments in biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and cellular and molecular physiology. In 2003, he became the founding chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, serving in that role until 2015. Over the past 10 years, much of his research work has been conducted in collaboration with physician-scientists at the Yale School of Medicine.
Salovey praised Saltzman as a “dedicated and acclaimed teacher” whose courses examine topics from physiological systems and the physiology of health to the engineering of drug delivery. In 2009, Saltzman was awarded Yale’s Sheffield Teaching Prize for excellence in the classroom. His course on the “Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering” is available around the globe through the online Open Yale Courses program.
In his address, Saltzman thanked the students for welcoming him and making him feel a part of JE. Describing himself as a “shy kid” from Iowa, Saltzman remarked that when he graduated from high school, he thought he would never be able to belong to a place like Yale, but he is happy to take on the position.
“It is such a pleasure for me to be here, in this special place,” he said. “I am eager to become a helpful part of your community. I learned about JE early in my time at Yale through my friend and former JE head Gary Haller. Your history of scholarship, camaraderie, artistry, and friendship is unique, even among a set of colleges that all aspire to these things.”
In addition to his teaching, Saltzman has been recognized widely for his excellence in research as well. He was named a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society in 2010, a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering in 2012, and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2013. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2014. He has delivered nearly 300 invited lectures throughout the world and has authored three textbooks.
Saltzman graduated with distinction from Iowa State University in 1981 with a B.S. in chemical engineering, and he received an S.M. in chemical engineering (1984) and a Ph.D. in medical engineering (1987) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the Yale faculty, he held faculty appointments at Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University.
He will be joined in JE by his wife, Christina Pavlak, an assistant professor of education at Quinnipiac University; their 3-year-old daughter, Noa, whose life’s ambition is to “live in a castle”; a chocolate Labrador retriever named Quijote, or simply “Q”; and Link the cat. Pavlak shares her husband’s love of the classroom, having spent many years as a bilingual teacher in an elementary school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before returning to the Northeast to earn advanced degrees in education from Columbia University and Boston College.
Saltzman succeeds Penelope Laurens after she announced her plans to retire at the end of the year having served the university for 43 years. Both Salovey and Saltzman thanked her for her leadership. Saltzman said his only reservation about his new role is “understanding how difficult it will be to follow her.”
Salovey also thanked the members of the search committee — Karla Neugebauer (chair), Susan Cahan, Cynthia Campos ’16, Russell Cohen ’17, Jay Emerson, Ayaska Fernando ’08, Denzell Jobson ’17, Chinedum Osuji, Esther Soma ’16, and Rebecca Spaulding ’16 — for their thoughtful work.