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Engineering dean candidates to visit campus

Feb. 4, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Four candidates for the dean's position of Western Michigan University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will make public presentations during a series of campus visits that will begin Monday, Feb. 9.

In talks open to the entire community, each candidate will answer the same question: "Given the current economic and global context, how would you lead the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the areas of education and research?" The names and titles of all four candidates follow, along with the times, days and dates of their presentations. All four events will take place in Room D-109 of the college's home facility on the Parkview Campus.

  • Dr. Joseph Rencis, professor, department head and the 21st Century Leadership Chair in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9.
  • Dr. Anthony Vizzini, the Bill and Carolyn Cobb Chair and department head of Mississippi State University's Department of Aerospace Engineering, 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11.
  • Dr. David Finley, vice president for academic affairs and professor of chemical engineering at Trine University, 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16.
  • Dr. Lizette Chevalier, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18.

The four candidates were selected through a nationwide search to find a successor for Dr. Timothy Greene who became WMU's provost and vice president for academic affairs last summer.

Engineering Dean Search
Complete biographical information on the candidates

Chevalier, a faculty member at Southern Illinois since 1995, is an expert in the fate and transport of contaminants, environmental engineering technology and engineering education. She has served on a wide range of state, federal and international committees with a focus on both environmental research and STEM--science, technology, engineering and math--education. She earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Wayne State University in 1988, and master's and doctoral degrees in the same discipline from Michigan State University in 1990 and 1994, respectively.

Prior to his current appointment at Trine in 2004, Finley served as dean of the Allen School of Engineering and Technology and chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at Tri-State University. He began his career as an environmental consultant in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area, climbing to the rank of senior chemical engineer at Applied Science & Technology Inc. Finley earned bachelor's and master's degrees in meteorology from the University of Michigan in 1986 and 1988, respectively, and master's and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Wayne State University in 1994 and 1996, respectively.

Rencis has been at the University of Arkansas since 2004. Prior to that, he served at Worcester Polytechnic Institute for 19 years as assistant, associate and full professor of mechanical engineering and for the final nine years of that period as director of engineering mechanics. He earned associate and bachelor's degrees in architectural and building construction engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in 1978 and 1980, respectively. He earned a master's degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University in 1982 and a doctoral degree in that discipline from Case Western Reserve University in 1985.

Vizzini has led Mississippi State's aerospace engineering department since 2003, and in 2005, was named the inaugural holder of the Cobb Endowed Chair at MSU's Bagley College of Engineering. Before that, he served for 17 years as a faculty member at the University Maryland, where he was founding director of the Composites Research Laboratory at the A. James Clark School of Engineering. He earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, 1983 and 1986, respectively, and a second bachelor's degree in mathematics from MIT in 1982.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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