New dean for the Kate Gleason College of Engineering




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Doreen Edwards and Harvey Palmer

For the first time in its history, the only U.S. engineering college named after a woman will have a woman as its leader.

Doreen Edwards has been chosen as dean of RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. Edwards, who is currently dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University and acting vice president of Statutory Affairs for the university, joins RIT on July 1.

“We looked at many impressive candidates during our national search, and Dr. Edwards was just a standout,” said RIT Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeremy Haefner. “She brings to RIT a wide array of academic, research and personal experiences that will help her lead our nationally recognized college to even greater prominence.”

Edwards, who has published more than 60 papers and holds two patents, brings more than 20 years of experience in academia and industry as a researcher, educator and administrator to the new position.

“I am thrilled to be joining RIT,” Edwards said. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering to grow its research programs and build upon its reputation for educating world-class engineers.”

Edwards holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University. She joined Alfred University in 1997 as an assistant professor of materials science and has received numerous faculty awards there, as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, one of the State University of New York’s highest honors. In 2001, she received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation and has served as the principal investigator on fundamental and applied research projects, focusing on oxide materials for fuel cells, batteries, thermoelectric devices, environmental remediation, and solar energy applications. Edwards is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society.

Edwards succeeds Harvey Palmer, who is retiring in June after serving as the Gleason College dean for 15 years.

In his 15 years as dean, Harvey Palmer developed RIT’s Kate Gleason College into one of the top undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in the country, adding new programs, including chemical and biomedical engineering, and degrees to already recognized programs in nanotechnology, 3D printing and sustainable engineering.

The college is ranked 27th globally by Business Insider as one of “The World’s Best Engineering Schools,” based on surveys with technology companies that hire its graduates. With more than 100 faculty and some 700 graduate and 2,800 undergraduate students, it ranks third nationally as one of the schools companies prefer when recruiting and hiring for positions in the aerospace and defense industries, according to Aviation Week’s annual workforce study.

Even with administrative demands on his schedule, Palmer, who was on the chemical engineering faculty at the University of Rochester from 1971 to 2000, taught several classes in the chemical engineering and honors programs at RIT. And he was well known in the industry, having twice served as president of the Rochester Engineer Society and was the recipient of its 2007 Leo H. East Engineer of the Year Award. At RIT, he won the Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness in 2010.

Retiring dean leaves a strong legacy

In his 15 years as dean, Harvey Palmer developed RIT’s Kate Gleason College into one of the top undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in the country, adding new programs, including chemical and biomedical engineering, and degrees to already recognized programs in nanotechnology, 3D printing and sustainable engineering.

The college is ranked 27th globally by Business Insider as one of “The World’s Best Engineering Schools,” based on surveys with technology companies that hire its graduates. With more than 100 faculty and some 700 graduate and 2,800 undergraduate students, it ranks third nationally as one of the schools companies prefer when recruiting and hiring for positions in the aerospace and defense industries, according to Aviation Week’s annual workforce study.

Even with administrative demands on his schedule, Palmer, who was on the chemical engineering faculty at the University of Rochester from 1971 to 2000, taught several classes in the chemical engineering and honors programs at RIT. And he was well known in the industry, having twice served as president of the Rochester Engineer Society and was the recipient of its 2007 Leo H. East Engineer of the Year Award. At RIT, he won the Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness in 2010.

201604/kgcoedeans.jpg

Doreen Edwards and Harvey Palmer