Alan Dorsey became dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences on July 1, 2012. As dean, he leads the University of Georgia’s oldest, largest, and most academically diverse college — a college that comprises some 30 academic departments and serves over 15,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. An experienced administrator and researcher, Dorsey previously served as an associate dean and as a department chair at the University of Florida.
A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Dorsey received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University in 1982 and his doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987. While at Illinois, he had the privilege of studying physics with Sir Anthony Leggett, an eminent theoretician who would later receive the 2003 Nobel Prize in physics. After receiving his doctorate, Dorsey returned to Cornell as the IBM Postdoctoral Fellow from 1987-1989. In 1989 he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia as an assistant professor in the physics department, where he earned tenure in 1995. At UVA Dorsey began his career-long commitment to the threefold mission of a research university: teaching, research, and service. He was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow; he received the department’s Outstanding Teaching Award; and he assisted with a significant revision of the department’s undergraduate degree programs. In 1997 he moved to the University of Florida as a tenured Associate Professor of Physics, and was promoted to Professor in 1998. At UF he worked with his colleagues to strengthen the department’s graduate programs, and he co-founded the NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. From 2002-2009 he served as the chair of the department of physics, one of UF’s largest and most research-intensive academic departments. In 2009 he was appointed associate dean for natural sciences and mathematics at UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In this role, he was the primary point of contact between the dean’s office and the departments within the College’s Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division. He also served as the College’s representative for research matters and provided general oversight for faculty startup funds and proposal support. . In addition to his academic research, Dr. Dorsey has a long-standing interest in science and mathematics education. At UF he and Dr. Thomas Dana co-founded UFTeach, a program to inspire and train the next generation of middle and high school math and science teachers.
Dr. Dorsey’s research in theoretical condensed matter physics seeks an understanding of the peculiar properties of matter subjected to extreme conditions, such as low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Such conditions reveal fundamental quantum-mechanical phenomena that lead to wholly new phases of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids, and supersolids. His published works are well-cited, and the National Science Foundation has regularly funded his research. In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, an organization to which he has contributed considerable service — as chair of major APS prize committees and as the Secretary-Treasurer of the APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics. In 2014 Dorsey was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Dorsey and his wife, Jacqueline (Johnson) Dorsey, have two sons. Jackie holds a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in psychology, where she conducted research in second language acquisition and cognitive development. She served on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia, and taught for twelve years as a pre-K and kindergarten Montessori teacher in Gainesville, Florida. She is currently an award-winning artist, specializing in watercolor portraits.