Virginia Tech Names First Female Engineering Dean

By Chemical Processing Staff

Feb 13, 2017

Virginia Tech appoints Julia Ross as dean of the College of Engineering following an international search process. She will be Virginia Tech’s first female engineering dean, according to an article from The Roanoke Times. As dean, Ross will hold tenured appointments in the departments of chemical engineering and engineering education. She will begin at Virginia Tech on July 31, according to the university. 

Ross currently serves as dean of engineering and information technology at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). UMBC is reportedly ranked No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Most Innovative Schools and in the top 10 for best undergraduate teaching, the second highest-ranked public university in that category.

"Julia brings exceptional collaborative leadership experience from one of the nation’s top universities for innovation and has worked diligently to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in engineering and information technology,” says Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis.

Since joining the UMBC faculty in 1995, Ross has served in various roles, including chair of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering and supported inter-institutional research initiatives as a special assistant to the provost. Her research focus centers on the role of fluid mechanics in infection formation in the cardiovascular system. In October, Ross was elected to the executive committee of the Global Engineering Dean's Council, where she will serve a three-year term and work closely with engineering deans from around the world to advance engineering education, research and service globally.

Ross is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2013, she received the American Council on Education fellowship, reportedly the nation's premier higher-education leadership development program preparing senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities. Ross is the principal investigator leading the INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science (INSPIRES) K-12 initiative. The program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, partners with Baltimore County Schools to develop and implement an innovative curriculum that exposes high-school students to engineering earlier in their educational careers, through existing science and technology classes. Ross holds a bachelor's degree from Purdue and a doctoral degree from Rice University, both in chemical engineering.

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