College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Cris Schwartz appointed assistant dean for engineering student success

Cris Schwartz
Cris Schwartz

Cris Schwartz, professor of mechanical engineering, has been named to a new Iowa State College of Engineering leadership position to advance the undergraduate student experience.

As assistant dean for student success, Schwartz will work with faculty and staff from across the college to enhance the first-year and undeclared engineering experience, expand hands-on engineering learning experiences, and improve student retention efforts, including creating new strategies to support students in critical early engineering career courses.

“In addition to strong technical skills, a hands-on, collaborative and supportive learning experience is at the heart of the Cyclone Engineering undergrad education, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on programming and processes that help engineering students thrive,” said Schwartz.

Before this role, Schwartz was the Department of Mechanical Engineering director of undergraduate education and the College of Engineering professor in charge of foundational mechanics course experience.

Throughout his career as an engineering educator, Schwartz has integrated experiential and problem-based learning pedagogy into his teaching in order to foster critical thinking and self-assessment of learning. He engages students in interactive design activities in his courses to prepare students to apply technical topics in relevant and innovative ways as professionals.

Schwartz joined Iowa State in 2012 after holding positions at Texas A&M and Southwest Research Institute, and his research interests are in the friction of biological materials, such as skin. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Iowa, and received his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Iowa State.

Schwartz will work within the College of Engineering leadership team and report to Sriram Sundararajan, associate dean for academic affairs.

“Cris brings to the assistant dean for engineering student success a uniquely strong combination of research and experience in effective engineering education. He will leverage that – combined with innovative thinking and collaborative leadership ­– to advance our mission to prepare the next generation of engineering leaders,” said Sundararajan.