Dean W. Brent Lindquist
As dean of the College of Arts & Sciences since July 2014, W. Brent Lindquist is leading students, faculty and alumni to take bold new initiatives as they move into a future that demands innovation and creative problem solving from those who would succeed.
Lindquist, who earned his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University, is a Canadian by birth, a New Yorker by long experience, a Texan by choice, and an administrator who guides by example—and on all fronts.
In Broad Strokes
Under Lindquist's tenure, the College has found its creed—"We Build Innovators"—and has branded itself and all 15 departments with that conviction. "We Build Innovators" is the spearhead of a new public awareness that has grown through social, electronic and print media; radio broadcasts; and student outreach. The College has launched its first capital campaign, "Unmasking Innovation, the Campaign for Arts & Sciences," to raise funds for the dean's initiatives to attract and retain top faculty, enhance critical infrastructure, recruit high-potential students, enhance undergraduate education and research, and grow the Dean's Fund for Excellence. Research expenditures have grown linearly from $33 million to more than $43 million during the four years Lindquist has been at the helm. And the College has increased alumni engagement: most boldly in Dallas with "Unmasking Innovation: An Evening with President George W. Bush" in April 2018, but also with more alumni get-togethers around Texas; East Coast meetings in Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston; and West Coast outreach in San Francisco.
Innovation for Students
From the time it was built in the 1970s, the three-story atrium of "new" Holden Hall was an open but not necessarily airy expanse of glass windows, off-white walls and echoes—a clinical, lonely place even during class changes. Changes that Lindquist began the summer of 2015 have transformed the space into what he calls, informally, the "honor lobby." Now, on either side of the bank of windows, red walls form a backdrop for photos of the board members of the Dean's Circle. Facing these windows is a red wall set aside for those named as College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni. Running down the main hallways are red walls featuring massive photos of exemplary students and high-profile alumni. Red-and-black lounge furniture and pub tables make the area a welcoming place for study or meeting friends. There's even a Sam's Express food court.
"This is an improvement that doesn't only benefit Arts & Sciences majors. Because this College teaches so many core courses in Holden Hall, every Tech student benefits," Lindquist says.
On the belief that everyone profits from knowing more about the College, what is now the annual Arts & Sciences Day was launched during Welcome Week 2015. Arts & Sciences Day is an open-air knowledge bazaar where any student can get better acquainted with the College's 15 academic departments and its many academic and professional student associations.
Changes go deeper than décor. Lindquist supports serious, real-life undergraduate research through CISER, the Center for the Integration of STEM Education & Research, where undergraduate students are paid to work in the labs of professors who are conducting ongoing research on the Texas Tech campus. He also supports the Texas Tech chapter of iGEM, The International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, an international team competition made up of predominantly undergraduate students interested in the field of synthetic biology. Both groups are essential to the advancement of the sciences at Texas Tech and beyond.
Graduate programs have expanded in the past year to include the accreditation of the Master's program in Social Work and the launching of the new Ph.D. program in Exercise Physiology. There's a new dual-degree option, too. The Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) is now offered along with the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), in cooperation with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Scholarships and fellowships have increased substantially, thanks to new relationships formed with the Helen Jones Foundation and the building of stronger relationships with Arts & Sciences alumni. With greater funding, the College has increased the number of four-year undergraduate recruitment scholarships from three in 2015 to 86 in the 2018/19 academic year, and graduate recruiting fellowships from one to 32 in the same time period. The College also distributes 34 single-year scholarships. Significantly, the College not only offers larger scholarships and fellowships to a greater number of students, but is using these funds as recruiting tools to attract the best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students to Texas Tech.
Innovation for Faculty, Research & Scholarship
Although Lindquist earned his Ph.D. in high energy physics, he has spent most of his own research career as an applied mathematician studying oil and gas flow in reservoirs. As such he is a professor in the College of Arts & Sciences' Departments of Mathematics and of Geosciences. He just graduated a Ph.D. student and is currently working on understanding gas bubble generation with a colleague in Taiwan.
One of his first initiatives as dean was to call for plans from each department to increase scholarship and research activity. The upshot: Concentrate on the strategic hiring of young faculty who are ready to hit the ground running in just those areas. To support both new and current faculty in landing research dollars, he hired a grant editor.
Research and scholarship are going forth from the new Institute for Peace & Conflict (IPAC), whose academic home is the College of Arts & Sciences. IPAC opened in April 2017, bringing under one flag, so to speak, the renowned Vietnam Center & Archive, the Archive of Modern American Warfare, the Army ROTC program, the Air Force ROTC program, and the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Studies. An IPAC-affiliated museum is on the drawing board.
The dean's infrastructure improvements have taken varied forms. A much-needed renovation of the greenhouse has been completed to support faculty and student research in Biological Sciences. An advanced particle-detector lab has been built to assist the research of Physics faculty affiliated with Nobel Prize-winning teams in both particle physics (CERN) and in astrophysics (LIGO). Plans to add research space for Psychological Sciences are under way.
To recognize exceptional faculty contributions in the areas of research and teaching, Dean Lindquist started an annual awards program beginning in spring 2016. The College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Excellence in Research and Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards are given during the same reception as the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards. So far, 19 of these faculty awards have been presented.
Innovation in Alumni Relations
Another first for the College is the Dean's Circle, an advisory board of seasoned alumni and industry leaders who Lindquist brought together, beginning in 2015, to lend their professional expertise and financial assistance in support of the College's scholarly vision. The spring of 2016 saw the inauguration of the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards; 12 alumni have been recognized to date. A fall event growing in popularity and attendance is the annual Arts & Sciences Tailgate—an alumni event that commenced under Lindquist's leadership. One more Lindquist innovation has been for the College of Arts & Sciences' newest alumni, where recent graduates are encouraged to attend A&S Young Innovators events in their locales and join the Arts & Sciences Young Alumni Association.
Innovation Before Texas Tech
Lindquist's interest is the movement of oil, gas and water underground made him instrumental in the development of computational methods to predict the movement of those fluids over distances typical to an oil field. He also played a leading role in imaging and studying the processes by which those fluids interact with one another over very short distances. "Such small scale interactions lie at the heart of the longer distance movement that is critical to our ability to extract these fluids from the ground," Lindquist says.
Before joining Texas Tech as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Lindquist was the deputy provost at Stony Brook University, an Association of American Universities institution and Carnegie-Classified very high research university. Prior to his appointment as deputy provost, Lindquist served as chair of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Stony Brook. Before his appointment as chair, he served a four-year term as deputy provost and led the development and opening of Stony Brook's first international campus in Songdo, Incheon City, Korea.
Before arriving at Stony Brook in 1989, Lindquist spent eight years at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where he became one of the primary developers of "front-tracking" methods used for the numerical solution of fluid flows. As a faculty member and chair, Lindquist's research has been funded through numerous agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, IBM and Sandia National Laboratory. Lindquist is the recipient of the 2010 Lee Segal Prize from the Society for Mathematical Biology and is a 2002 honoree of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
A widely published researcher, Lindquist received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Manitoba in 1975 and a doctorate degree in theoretical particle physics from Cornell University in 1981. Additionally, he has provided consultation to Exxon Research and Engineering, the Petroleum Recovery Research Center at the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, the Elf Enterprise UK, Ltd.- Geoscience Research Centre, and the Institute for Energy Technology in Norway.
He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba "in what they refer to in the Canadian system as honors physics," he says. "The Canadian system at that time was very British oriented; with three-year general university degrees and four-year honors degrees. In those days we had year-long classes. There were no semester classes; final exams covered an entire year of course work. In an honors degree you specialized. In my freshman year I took four sciences—math, physics, biology and chemistry—plus anthropology. In my sophomore through senior years I studied only mathematics and physics. I typically took one mathematics and four physics classes each year. I graduated with a 4.0 cumulative GPA and the University's Gold Medal in Science."
Lindquist earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Cornell with Prof. Toichiro (Tom) Kinoshita. "We were working on a calculation that, at the time, was the largest computer calculation done in physics," Lindquist says. "We calculated the magnetic moment of the electron using Feynman diagrams to enumerate the so-called 'eighth-order' terms that contribute to the magnetic moment and performed the computations necessary to evaluate those terms. The magnetic moment of the electron is, today, the most accurately verified prediction in the history of physics."
At a Glance
- 2013 Honorary Member, Golden Key International Honor Society
- 2011 Most Cited Article 2005 to 2010, Computers and Geosciences,
for Analysis of vesicular structure of basalts, 31(4) (2005), 473–487
- 2010 Lee Segel Prize (joint with I.D. Chase), Society of Mathematical Biology
- American Geophysical Society
- American Physical Society
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- PhD, Physics, Cornell University 1981
- BSc (Honors) Physics,
University of Manitoba 1975