Colorado State University

College of Natural Sciences’ Associate Dean for Research Jim Sites Steps Down to Return to the Physics Department

Jim Sites

After 12 years serving as associate dean for research in the College of Natural Sciences, Jim Sites is stepping down from the post this August.

He will continue his active solar energy research program in the Department of Physics, where he is a full professor and was chair of the department before joining the dean’s office.

“We are incredibly grateful to Jim for his many years of service as research associate dean,” said Dean of the College Jan Nerger. “Under his direction, research expenditures in the college increased by more than 30 percent, and our faculty are obtaining funding from a much broader range of agencies. His dedication to the college and our faculty and staff is truly exceptional.”

During his tenure as associate dean for research, Sites broadened the college support for faculty submitting research proposals, worked closely with his counterparts in other colleges to initiate interdisciplinary research programs, and has been a consistent advocate for the central role of students in Colorado State University’s research.

“It has been a real pleasure to work in the College of Natural Sciences’ Office of the Dean with Dean Miranda, Dean Nerger, and a large number of wonderful colleagues,” Sites said.

Professor Sites’ own research focuses on physical properties necessary for lower-cost, more efficient solar cells. In particular, he is interested in polycrystalline thin-film solar cells. He leads the Photovoltaic Lab in Physics and also works closely with faculty and students in the College of Engineering. Through his career, Sites has published more than 160 scientific papers, advised more than 30 doctoral students, and taught most of the physics courses offered at CSU.

Sites earned his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University and his bachelors of science from Duke University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1969 to 1971 before joining the CSU physics department faculty. He was named full professor in 1983 and served as chair of the department from 1990 to 2000. Sites is a member of the American Physical Society, associate editor of the Journal of Photovoltaics, and an organizer for the annual U.S. photovoltaic conference. His research collaborations cross the campus and the globe, working with fellow academics as well as with several manufacturing companies. 

Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Chemistry Melissa Reynolds will begin as associate dean for research in the college beginning in mid-August.