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Appointment of Dean of SEAS

Appointment of Dean of SEAS

April 22, 2009

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Feniosky Peña-Mora as the new Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective July 15, 2009. Professor Peña-Mora has earned an international reputation for outstanding scholarship, teaching, research, engineering, and leadership in managing major university engineering programs at both MIT and the University of Illinois, where he has also served as Associate Provost.

Professor Peña-Mora comes to Columbia after six years at Illinois, where he is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a Center Affiliate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and a Faculty Affiliate at the Beckman Institute. He earned a Master of Science (MS) degree in Civil Engineering and a Doctor of Science (ScD) in Civil Engineering Systems from MIT. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2003, Professor Peña-Mora worked at MIT as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor of information technology and project management in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He has also served as a visiting professor at Loughborough University in Great Britain and at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

Professor Peña-Mora's research interests include information technology support for collaboration in preparedness, response, and recovery during disasters involving critical physical infrastructures, such as the 9/11 terrorist attack and Hurricane Katrina. He has also worked on problems of management of large-scale civil engineering systems.

Professor Peña-Mora is the author of more than one-hundred publications in refereed journals, conference proceedings, book chapters, and textbooks on computer-supported design, computer-supported engineering design and construction, as well as project control and management of large-scale engineering systems. His publication, "Design Rationale for Computer Supported Conflict Mitigation," received the 1995 award for best paper published in the American Society Civil Engineers' (ASCE) Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering. He is also the author of an influential textbook, Introduction to Construction Dispute Resolution (2002).

Professor Peña-Mora is the holder of the 1999 National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the White House Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). More recently, he has won the 2007 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. In 2008, he was recognized with the ASCE Computing in Civil Engineering Award for outstanding achievement and contribution in the use of computers in the practice of civil engineering.

Professor Peña-Mora also has extensive practical experience in the fields of engineering and applied science. He is a professional engineer registered in the Dominican Republic and has been a key figure in a variety of international projects. He has founded high-tech startup and consulting companies and has worked with both the construction industry and governments in various countries, including Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Japan.

Columbia is fortunate to welcome such a remarkable new engineering dean at a time when the school is becoming ever more central to the University's mission - from its interdisciplinary work with our medical center in the life sciences and the Earth Institute in climate science to its pioneering service-learning curriculum that is a national model for civic engagement between university and community.

I want to extend my thanks to Interim Dean Jerry Navratil for his effective leadership at SEAS these past two academic years. I would also like to thank Provost Alan Brinkley and all the students, faculty, staff, and alumni members of the search committee for their hard work and enthusiastic recommendation of Professor Peña-Mora for this vital leadership role at Columbia. The success of their efforts is obvious. For the present, please join me in welcoming Feniosky Peña-Mora and his family to the Columbia community.

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger