Embry-Riddle research leader, cybersecurity expert to become WMU's next research VP

Contact: Paula Davis

Dr. Remzi Seker

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Following a national search, Western Michigan University has named Dr. Remzi Seker as its next vice president for research and innovation. Seker is currently Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's (ERAU) vice president for research and doctoral programs, leading the Florida institution's research enterprise across three campuses. His appointment will be effective July 1, pending WMU Board of Trustees approval. 

"Dr. Seker has distinguished himself, first as a scholar at several well-regarded academic institutions, including Embry-Riddle, and by successfully advancing research objectives at the universitywide level," says WMU President Edward Montgomery. "He also has an impressive record in program development, innovation and expansion, including initiatives to establish university-based research centers and efforts leading to growth in undergraduate engagement in research."

"We look forward to Dr. Seker helping us to level-up our enterprise-wide research ambitions, providing our scholars with the support they need to advance the frontiers of knowledge and creative scholarship," Montgomery adds.

At Embry-Riddle, Seker led the team that implemented the university's current five-year Research and Innovation Strategic Plan, which launched in 2018. Over the last three fiscal years, the institution has seen externally funded research expenditures surge by 52%. The last two full fiscal years set records in research awards, and ERAU is on pace to experience another record year in 2022. 

"I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with WMU community members to forward the University's research agenda while staying true to its mission," Seker says. "I believe in building a research enterprise that ignites innovation, creates collaboration and community, supports students and fuels economic development."

He joined the faculty of Embry-Riddle in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2012, leading development of graduate and undergraduate programs as well as teaching and pursuing research in cybersecurity.

In 2018, he was tapped to help lead the ERAU research agenda as associate provost for research and this past March, he was elevated to vice president for research and doctoral programs. His tenure has been marked by program development and growth, including several strategic efforts. 

As associate provost and expert in aviation and aerospace cybersecurity, Seker launched the Embry-Riddle Research Center (ERC) initiative to support growth in select research areas. He developed the inaugural ERC, the Center for Aerospace Resilience (CAR), to maintain and extend the university’s leadership in aviation and aerospace cyber resilience.

CAR received $11.2 million in external funding in two years, including $3.9 million through the National Science Foundation CyberCorps Scholarship for Service. And last year, Seker supported the establishment of Embry-Riddle’s second ERC, the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety, which is now led by Robert L. Sumwalt III, the former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. 

"I believe that we must remain in sync with the needs of the population we are serving. Prioritizing economic impact strengthens the University's ties to the local community, creating a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and resources," Seker says.

"I also place great value on creating opportunities for students to develop real-world skills and capacities. Increasing undergraduate student involvement in applied research activities both serves the University's mission and facilitates personal and professional growth for students."

Seker's own research interests include aviation and aerospace cybersecurity and forensics as well as security and safety-critical systems. During three decades in academia, he has numerous peer-reviewed publications and has earned a number of grants to support his scholarship.

His 10-year stint at Embry-Riddle followed faculty positions in computer science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Texas Tech University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey.

Seker earned a doctorate in computer engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and master's and bachelor's degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Cukurova University.

The Board of Trustees is expected to consider the appointment at its June meeting.

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