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Dean's Corner

Depending on who is being asked, the designation of dean, my role within ODU Engineering, can connote more than a few wide-ranging functions. While a dean is overwhelmingly a higher education figure, and his or her role relates its holder to a leadership position within a given department or college, deans hold numerous varied responsibilities. Responsibilities include approving faculty hiring, setting academic policies, overseeing the budget, fundraising, and other administrative tasks. All of those understandings of my role are indeed correct.

As a leader in the world of academia, one noticeably absent task from this list is instruction. It was only after many years of teaching within the field of aerospace engineering that I achieved the position of dean for this college. While I may not do much in the way of teaching courses to students nowadays, I unquestionably contribute to the sharing of knowledge with my peers around the University, the country and the globe; those in K-12 education; and industry leaders. I enjoy being able to impart to these constituents my personal experiences heading a college of engineering and technology.

I have traveled to visit various organizations and institutes to tell the ODU Engineering story. It is not uncommon to find me, on any given day, exchanging stories with one of our corporate partners or going out on site visits to see their operations. Making connections with those performing the jobs that we prepare our students for allows for practical collaborations and the potential of engaging students in real-world problem solving through internships and research opportunities.

Interactions and collaborations with those in academia are equally important to me. Earlier this semester, I spoke with a group of middle school educators at NASA Langley about empowering middle school students to make the field of engineering a career possibility. Within this edition of e-Interaction, you can learn more about my talk at this middle school counselors' program. Likewise, I have traveled to academic institutions around North America, Europe, and Asia. This month, I trekked to Thailand to give a keynote speech at 7th Srinakharinwirot Academic Conference about the changes in western education. Having representation at events like these not only give me a platform to relay ODU Engineering methodologies but also to obtain feedback and insights from peer programs. The visits, for that reason, tend to become mutual exchanges of information. Fortunately for this dean, it is through these educational outreach opportunities, I have been able to carry on scholastic activities that may otherwise be wanting.

Published on: April 1, 2013