College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

College’s cabinet in place

The College of Engineering’s announcement in October that Dr. Gary Mirka has been promoted to the position of associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education capped a period of administrative changes that began last spring.

Mirka, currently the John Ryder Professor and Department Chair of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, moves into the associate dean’s office on January 3, 2011. With Mirka’s appointment, Dean Jonathan Wickert’s leadership cabinet is fully in place. An interim chair will be appointed to lead IMSE while an international search is conducted for the department’s next chair.

The structure in engineering’s Office of the Dean includes four associate deans:

  • Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Education Gary Mirka, who oversees the entire value chain of student services, including undergraduate recruiting, orientation, classification, and scholarships; international collaborations for study and work abroad; diversity; and graduate recruiting and administration.
  • Associate Dean for Research Balaji Narasimhan, who is the point person for supporting and growing the college’s research enterprise. He leads new initiatives on intellectual property and a venture fund to develop research centers of excellence. He also directs the Engineering Research Institute.
  • Associate Dean for Extension Ron Cox, who creates and stewards relationships between the engineering college and corporations, including team design projects and K-12 outreach. Engineering Career Services and the college’s flagship career fair report-up through Dr. Cox’s office.
  • Associate Dean for Operations Jim Kurtenbach, who is responsible for daily management functions analogous to a corporation’s chief operating officer. Dr. Kurtenbach’s areas of responsibility include budget and planning, human resources, physical space, information technology, and online learning infrastructure.

“Like any leading corporation, today’s engineering college is organized around core competencies, which for us are education, research, and extension,” Wickert said.

Diversity and international programs are overseen by professors-in-charge—Derrick Rollins for community-based recruitment, Mufit Akinc for international—with each of the eight academic departments having faculty designated to ensure that diversity and international engagement are fully advanced at each level of the organization.

“This approach clarifies responsibilities and ultimately serves our faculty and students much more effectively,” Wickert said. “The engineering college strives to be a model for efficiency and collaboration. Our commitment is to strongly support the scholarship of our faculty and ensure the quality of the learning experience for our students.”

Wickert and the four associate deans anchor the Dean’s Cabinet, which also includes John Glover, executive director of development, ISU Foundation; Ellen Reints, CPA, business manager; Heidi Eichorn, PHR, human resources manager; Julie Ham, executive assistant to the dean; and Eric Dieterle, director of College Relations.