April 25, 2011

Four named finalists for Engineering dean

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Four people are finalists for the position of dean of the College of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, with each scheduled for campus visits during the next few weeks.

The four candidates are:

•Lizette R. Chevalier, acting associate dean of the SIUC College of Engineering and professor of civil and environmental engineering

• Demetrios Kazakos, director of the Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology at the National Science Foundation

•Darrell W. Pepper, professor and director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

• John J. Warwick, acting vice president for academic affairs and executive director of the Division of Hydrologic Sciences at the Desert Research Institute, Nevada System of Higher Education

All four candidates will interview and meet with students, faculty and staff during their visits. Times and places for candidate forums open to the public will be released at a later date.

“We are pleased to provide the campus with a diverse pool of qualified candidates for the position of dean of the College of Engineering,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “This is an important position, and I encourage everyone to participate in the process.”

Warwick will interview on campus Thursday and Friday, April 28-29. Kazakos will do so Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3 and Pepper will interview Thursday and Friday, May 5-6. Chevalier will interview Monday and Tuesday, May 9-10.

Chevalier earned her bachelor’s degree in 1988 in civil engineering at Wayne State University. She earned her master’s degree in 1990 in civil and environmental engineering at Michigan State University and her doctorate there in 1994. While at MSU, she served as graduate intern engineer with the research and environmental staff for General Motors Research and Development, as an instructor in numerical methods and as a General Electric Fellow from 1993 to 1994. In 1994, she became a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Bucknell University, serving in a self-created “teaching post-doc” position until 1995.

Chevalier joined the SIUC faculty as an assistant professor in the former Department of Civil Engineering in 1995, becoming an associate professor in 1999 and serving as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2002 to 2008. She became a full professor in 2007 and began as acting associate dean of the College of Engineering in 2010.

During her career, Chevalier earned numerous awards and honors, including being named a fellow by American Society of Civil Engineers in 2009; a diplomat by the American Association of Water Resources Engineers in 2009; an SIUC woman of distinction in 2005; and the distinguished faculty award from the SIUC Undergraduate Student Government in 2001, among many others.

Chevalier said she wants to advance the college’s reputation and value by providing students with strong faculty, state-of-the-art technical knowledge and broad education.

“Facultyaretheheartofacademiclearningandachievement,” Chevalier said. “…Trulyexcellentteachingfacultyhavethe ability to convey technical knowledge, ethics and a connection to the subject in a meaningful personal or global context. The best teaching is also articulated as a commitment to student learning.”

Kazakos earned his bachelor’s degree in 1967 in electrical, mechanical and industrial engineering at the National Polytechnic University of Athens, Greece. He earnedamaster’sdegree in 1970 in electrical engineering at Princeton University and his doctorate in 1973 at the University of Southern California. He served two years as a post-doctoral research associate with the National Research Council at NASA’s Johnson Space Center before becoming an assistant professor of electrical engineering at State University of New York at Buffalo. He later became an associate professor and later professor of electrical engineering at the University of Virginia, where he held a joint tenured appointment with the mathematics department.

From 1983 to 2001, Kazakos worked as leader with HITEC Inc., a Greek high-technology firm involved in computer-related research and development projects. He served as president of the firm from 1993 to 2001.

He was a professor and department chair of the electrical engineering and computer science department at the University of Toledo from 2001 to 2004 and held the same position at the University of Idaho’s electrical and computer engineering department from 2004 to 2006. He next became professor and dean of the College of Science and Technology at Texas Southern University, before entering his current position of program director with the NSF in 2009.

During his career, Kazakos earned numerous awards and honors, including being elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1992, being elevated to an IEEE Life Fellow in 2009 and being elected a distinguished lecturer for IEEE’s Communications Society in 1992, among many others.

Kazakos said a dean has a multifaceted role to play.

“He or she must be an intellectual leader, effective manager and motivator of the faculty, as well as an able representative of the college and the University, who can connect with external constituencies,” he said. “In the field of engineering there is an additional need for external relations, because close contacts with the industry and governmental agencies are needed.”

Pepper earned his bachelor’s degree in 1968 in mechanical engineering, his master’s degree in 1970 in aerospace engineering, and his doctorate in 1973 in mechanical engineering, all at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He became a post-doctoral teaching fellow there the same year before moving on to other teaching roles at University of South Carolina-Aiken and the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as numerous private industry positions.

In 1988, he became a professor of mechanical engineering at California State University-Northridge, serving there through 1992. He served as associate director of CMEST at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 1993 to 1996 and as an associate professor there from 1992 to l996. He served in several visiting professor roles at national laboratories during the mid-1990s before becoming director of engineering for the High-Pressure Science and Engineering Center UNLV 1998. He became a full professor at UNLV in 1996, also serving as chair of mechanical engineering to 2002.

Pepper served as interim dean of the College of Engineering at UNLV from 2002 to 2003 before becoming professor and director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods there.

During his career, Pepper earned numerous awards and honors, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Sustained Service Award in 2011; the Harry Reid Silver State Award (major state award with $10,000) in 2009; election to the Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers, Missouri University of Science & Technology in 2009; the Eric Reissner Medal from the International Conference on Computational & Experimental Engineering and Sciences in 2008; and a Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Researcher award in 1999, among many others.

Pepper said maintaining a vision for the college is important for a dean.

“In today’s environment, there is a need for the ability to hear different voices and ideas from both students and faculty and to be able to sustain new concepts,” Pepper said. “The dean provides a vision for the future of the college, and builds a team to develop a comprehensive plan for the college and its role in the university system.”

Warwick earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 in civil engineering at the Lehigh University, earning his master’s in civil engineering there in 1978, as well. He earned his doctorate at The Pennsylvania State University in 1983 in environmental engineering, joining the University of Texas at Dallas as an assistant professor in the environmental sciences graduate program that year. He later became an associate professor there and served as director of the Institute for Environmental Sciences there from 1989 to 1991.

Warwick joined the University of Nevada-Reno as an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Resource Sciences in 1991, becoming a full professor in 1996. He served as director of the graduate program in hydrological sciences from 1993 to 1999 and 2007 to 2008. He remains an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering there.

Warwick was professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida from 1999 to 2002, also serving as director of the NASA Environmental Systems Commercial Space Technology Center there from 2000 to 2002. He twice became director of the Nevada Water Resources Institute, once from 2002 to 2008 and then from 2010 to present. He also served as executive director of the Division of Hydrologic Sciences during those same timeframes. He was interim executive vice president for research there from 2008 to 2010 and has served as acting vice president for academic affairs there since September 2010.

During his career, Warwick earned top honors and awards in several areas. Those include being named the Top Director of Graduate Programs at the University of Nevada-Reno in 1997; the

Outstanding Faculty Award, Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences there in 1999; being named a Fellow of the American Water Resources Association in 2002 and winning the American Water Resources Association President's Outstanding Service Award in 2006, among many others.

Warwick said his passion for undergraduate and graduate student issues is the major motivation behind his desire to return to a more traditional academic/university environment.

“I am also passionate about developing successful multi-disciplinary research programs and growing collaborative relationships among academia, industry and government,” Warwick said. “I have a strong commitment to and successful track record in promoting increased diversity in the engineering profession.”