Farshid Hajir, professor of mathematics, has been named senior vice provost for academic affairs by acting provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs John McCarthy, effective Oct. 1. Hajir will fill the position vacated by McCarthy when he became acting provost in July.
“Hajir is an ideal choice,” said McCarthy. “He is a first-rate researcher who also has a broad knowledge of undergraduate and graduate education, who has spearheaded important initiatives in his department, and who has worked across department and college boundaries.”
A member of the faculty in the department of mathematics and statistics since he joined the university as an assistant professor in 2002, Hajir is a mathematician specializing in algebraic number theory. His research on fundamental groups of number fields, the arithmetic theory of elliptic curves, Galois theory of orthogonal polynomials, and special values of L-functions has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Security Agency.
Hajir’s degrees in mathematics are from Princeton, where he received an A.B., and MIT, where he was awarded his Ph.D. He did his postdoctoral work at Caltech and UCLA, the latter as an NSF postdoctoral research fellow. While he was a graduate student at MIT, Hajir was awarded the institute’s Goodwin Medal “for conspicuously effective teaching” and the Mathematics Department’s Housman Award for Excellence in Teaching. At UMass Amherst, he has taught a wide range of courses from precalculus and mathematics for elementary school teachers to graduate courses on abstract algebra and complex analysis. The high quality of his teaching has been recognized by a Natural Sciences and Mathematics Outstanding Teaching Award and the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Since 2006, Hajir has served his home department in various administrative roles, first as undergraduate program director, then as associate head, and, for the past three years, as head. During that time, he has led initiatives to establish a calculus help center, to revamp the mathematics major curriculum, to revise and improve academic and career advising for math majors in view of the fact that this population has doubled over a four-year period, and to increase the diversity of the faculty.
As head, Hajir led his department through a strategic planning process, with subsequent hiring efforts which strengthened the research groups in applied probability, statistics, analysis, and geometry, and established a new research group in discrete mathematics. He also successfully advocated for expanding the scope of the visiting assistant professor program in his department and establishing the Marshall H. Stone visiting assistant professor position. His efforts in development have helped secure funding for over 80 students to participate, over a 10-year period, in a research experience for undergraduates and helped establish a new endowed distinguished lecture in mathematics and statistics. Hajir has served the university through membership on the Campus Planning and Resource Committee, the General Education Council, the Faculty Senate, and as the Faculty Senate’s delegate to the Board of Trustees.