Dr. Heppert is currently Vice President for Research & Innovation at Texas Tech University. Previously, he served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Kansas (KU). He chaired the KU Chemistry Department from 2005-2009 and was the founding director of the University's Center for Science Education from 2001-2009. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, and currently serves as chair the American Chemical Society's Committee on Budget and Finance.
Dr. Heppert's initial research focused on organo transition metal chemistry. This research resulted in the isolation and characterization of the first class of air stable terminal transition metal carbide compounds. Dr. Heppert has also been active in projects to improve science teaching and science teacher preparation. He is past chair of the American Chemical Society's Committee on Education. In this role he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science and the National Science Board on science education policy issues.
Dr. Heppert received a B.S. in Chemistry from San Jose State University in 1978, where he participated in heavy elements research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982, studying under Donald Ganies. He completed postdoctoral training at Indiana University under the direction of Dr. Malcolm Chisholm. He joined the chemistry faculty KU in 1985 and moved to Texas Tech University in 2017.