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Amid Cabinet turnover, Yale’s Peter Schiffer named Dean for Research

Peter Schiffer
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

On June 2, the University announced that Peter Schiffer will serve as the next dean for research, a position that entails working “closely with the provost and other University leaders to develop and support Princeton’s dynamic research community.”

Schiffer is currently a professor of applied physics and physics at Yale, as well as director for strategic projects at the university’s Faculty of Arts and Science. 


Beginning in the new role on Aug. 28, he will be one of several new faces in the University administration, which has favored outside hires amidst recent turnover. Last month, the University named University of Chicago administrator Katie Callow-Wright its next executive vice president (EVP).

Schiffer will succeed Pablo Debenedetti, a professor in engineering and applied science who has held the position for over a decade. In contrast to Schiffer, Debendetti made his career at the University, joining the faculty in 1985.

In his time as dean, Debenedetti created the Office of the Vice Dean for Innovation, worked to eliminate graduate student tuition and health plan charges to external grants and created funding for new research equipment. He announced his departure last November.

Fitting with the role, Schiffer will join the faculty as a professor in the Department of Physics in addition to his responsibilities as dean. He is not currently slated to teach any courses in the fall. Schiffer’s wife, Sharon Hammes-Schiffer ’88, will also join Princeton’s faculty in January 2024 as a professor of chemistry.

President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 — himself, a former physics concentrator at the University — noted Schiffer’s “rare combination of administrative skill, deep knowledge of research policy, and … steadfast commitment to the scholarly values that define this University” in the press release.

Indeed, Schiffer claims ample first hand research experience, authoring or co-authoring more than 200 papers, including over 25,000 citations. His work focuses on fundamental condensed matter physics in an experimental setting, including magnetic materials and nanostructures. 


“My personal research background is in a multidisciplinary area of physics,” Schiffer explained in the release. “I’ve interacted substantially with scholars across the academic spectrum through my administrative roles. I’m looking forward to engaging with new colleagues across the humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering.”

Sophie Glaser is an assistant Features editor and staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’

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