R. James Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick, R. James

Deans Office

  104 Natural Science Building
  (517) 355-4473


James Kirkpatrick is dean of Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science. He has more than 20 years of experience in college administration and served as executive associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) before joining MSU in 2007. He received his Ph.D. in geology from UIUC in 1972 and has authored more than 200 research publications. His research focuses on the application of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and computational molecular modeling in geochemistry, mineralogy, and materials chemistry.


Ph.D. (Geology) – University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, 1972
A.B. (Geology) – Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1968

Professional History:

Executive Associate Dean, 1997-2007, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIUC
Head, Department of Geology, 1988-1997 (on leave, A.Y. 1993-1994)
R.E. Grim Professor, 2005-2007, Department of Geology, UIUC
Professor, 1983-2007, Department of Geology, UIUC
Associate Professor, 1980-1983, Department of Geology, UIUC
Assistant Professor, 1978-1980, Department of Geology, UIUC
Assistant Research Geologist, 1976-78, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Deep Sea Drilling Project), La Jolla, CA
Research Fellow in Geophysics, 1973-1975, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Senior Research Geologist, 1972-1973, Exxon Production Research Co., Houston, Texas


Mineralogical Society of America (Fellow)
Geological Society of America (Fellow)
America Ceramic Society (Fellow)
Overseas Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK, 1985-1986
Brunauer Award, American Ceramic Society, 2000
Dana Medal, Mineralogical Society of America, 2004
Who’s Who in America
Who’s Who in American Higher Education


Dean Kirkpatrick’s research deals primarily with the application of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and computational molecular modeling to the investigation of molecular-scale problems in geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, and materials chemistry. Current areas of interest include the mechanisms of water/mineral and water/colloid interactions, the structural and dynamical behavior of interlayer and surface species in layer-structure phases, order/disorder in minerals, structural phase transitions in minerals, chemistry and mineralogy of cement materials. He is author of more than 215 research publications. He has been a councilor of the Mineralogical Society of America, vice president of the IMA Commission on Crystal Growth, secretary of the IMA Commission on Mineral Physics, and has been a member of many committees and panels.