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Harvey J. Palmer

Harvey J. Palmer
Dean, Professor, PE

Phone: 585-475-2146
Office: GLE/3205


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering – University of Washington – 1971

B.S. Chemical Engineering – University of Rochester – 1967

Personal Experience and Expertise

Before joining RIT as dean of engineering, Dr. Palmer spent his entire academic career in the chemical engineering department at the University of Rochester, including six years as associate dean for graduate studies in the engineering college and nearly ten years as department chair of chemical engineering.  Since joining RIT in July 2000, his focus has been on increasing student satisfaction and retention, recruiting women to engineering, expanding the diversity of the faculty and staff within the college, establishing a truly interdisciplinary team-based capstone design course that exposes students to the principles of product development and project management, launching a first-in-the-nation Ph.D. program in Microsystems Engineering and, most recently, developing and launching two new B.S. degree programs for the Kate Gleason College:  chemical engineering and biomedical engineering.  The curricula for these two B.S. degree programs have been shaped to innovatively define the future of education in these two engineering disciplines, thereby maximizing the employment potential of its graduates. 

During Dr. Palmer’s tenure as dean, the attrition of students from their first to second year has decreased significantly, from 15% in 2000 to 7% currently, and the number of women in the college has risen dramatically.  In 2004, only 10% of the undergraduates in the college were women.  In fall 2012, the percentage is over 20% and continuing to grow, with women comprising over 23% of the entering class. With 497 female undergraduates in 2012-13, the cohort of women in engineering at RIT rivals the enrollment of men at many of the private engineering schools across the country.  Additionally, over 90% of the women entering the college graduate from RIT.  The comparable statistic for men currently is 69%.  Faculty diversity has also flourished over the past decade.  Under Dr. Palmer’s leadership, the percentage of underrepresented minorities among the faculty has grown from zero to 15%, and the number of women faculty has nearly doubled, with women comprising nearly 17% of the engineering faculty at RIT.

Dr. Palmer earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in 1971.  His research interests include micro-scale fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer in multi-phase flows and thin films, the impact of surfactants on the behavior of such processes, and biomedical applications. Dr. Palmer has consulted for a number of companies, including Eastman Kodak Co., Boehringer Mannheim Corp., Johnson & Johnson’s Clinical Diagnostic Systems Division, and Abbott Diagnostics Systems, particularly in the area of microfluidics in blood sample collection and analysis for clinical diagnostics.  He is the co-inventor on seven patents.  While active in research throughout his professional career, Dr. Palmer’s passion is teaching and mentoring, and his focus on students has had a strong positive influence on the engineering college at RIT.  He twice was awarded the distinguished undergraduate teaching award in the engineering college at the University of Rochester.  He served for nine years on the Board of the Honeoye Falls-Lima School District, serving two years as its president.  He also served for five years on the National Advisory Board of Project Lead the Way, an organization that has developed and implemented technology based curriculum in high schools throughout the U.S.  Dr. Palmer’s passion for teaching and dedication to undergraduate engineering education is reflected in his ongoing engagement in the teaching of two classes: the honors course in Product Realization and Chemical Engineering Insights I.

Dr. Palmer has strong ties to local industry.  He has served on the Board of Directors of Transcat, Inc. since 1987, has served on the Licensing Board of Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors in the New York State Education Department since 2007, and served for ten years on the Executive Board of the Rochester Engineering Society, twice as the organization’s president.  Professional service as a Professional Engineer has also included participation as a member of the jury to select the winners of the 2009 and 2010 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education.  Professional honors include the Leo H. East Engineer of the Year Award for 2007 from the Rochester Engineering Society and the 2nd annual Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness at RIT in 2010.

Selected Publications  (since 1993)

H.J. Palmer, “Catalyzing Systemic Change Towards a Multidisciplinary, Product Innovation Focus,” Proceedings, ASEE Annual Meeting, Hawaii, AC 2007-2905 (2007).

M.C. Brick, H.J. Palmer and T.H. Whitesides, “Formation of colloidal dispersions of organic materials in aqueous media by solvent shifting,” Langmuir 19, 6367-6380 (2003).

D.M. King, Z. Wang, H.J. Palmer, B.A. Holm and R.H. Notter, “Bulk shear viscosities of endogenous and exogenous lung surfactants,” Amer. J. Physiology 282, L277-L284 (2002).

D.M. King, Z. Wang, J.W. Kendig, H.J. Palmer, B.A. Holm and R.H. Notter, “Concentration-dependent, temperature-dependent, non-Newtonian viscosity of lung surfactant dispersions,” Chem. Phys. Lipids 112, 11-19 (2001).

D. Noren, H.J. Palmer and M.D. Frame, “Predicted wall shear rate gradients in T-type arteriolar bifurcations,” Biorheology 37, 325-340 (2000).

H.J. Palmer, C.M. C. Hughes, M. Lessen, J. Greenleaf, K.L. Buehler, and C. Villalobos, “Novel mixing tank for improved gas-liquid mass transfer and solid suspension,” AIChE J. 45, 2117–2127 (1999).

M. Lessen, H.J. Palmer, and C.M. Carpenter, “A novel mixing tank configuration for improved gas-liquid mass transfer, blending and solids suspension,” Recents Progres en Génie des Procédés (Recent Advances in Mixing), 11, #51, 251–258 (1997).

S.J. Weinstein and H.J. Palmer, “Capillary hydrodynamics and interfacial phenomena,” Chap. 2 in Liquid Film Coating:  Scientific Principles and their Technological Implications.  P.M. Schweizer & S.F. Kistler, Eds. New York:  Chapman & Hall, 1996.

H.J. Palmer, “The University of Rochester’s Richard Heist,” Chem. Engng Educ., 144–149 (1995).

S.B. Hall, M.S. Bermel, Y.T. Ko, H.J. Palmer, G. Enhorning and R.H. Notter, “Approximations in the measurement of surface tension on the oscillating bubble surfactometer,” J. Amer. Physiological Soc. 161, 468–477 (1993).

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness at RIT, 2010
  • Engineer of the Year, Rochester Engineering Society, 2007
  • Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1979, 1982: College of Engineering & Applied Science, U. of Rochester
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