May 20, 2010

Lance Collins named dean of College of Engineering

Lance R. Collins, professor and the S.C. Thomas Sze Director of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell, has been named the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering for a five-year term beginning July 1, Provost Kent Fuchs announced today.

"Lance Collins already is recognized in and beyond his college as a university leader, as evidenced by his role on the university's Strategic Plan Advisory Council," said Cornell President David Skorton, "and those strong leadership abilities will serve him, and Engineering, well as dean."

Added Fuchs: "Lance has impeccable research credentials and a deep commitment to teaching. He also has demonstrated strong abilities as an administrator, while steering his department through very challenging times."

The College of Engineering is recognized as an international leader in engineering science, offering multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate academic programs that focus on advancing human knowledge through research and excellence in education to create a better future for all. The college is an active participant in initiatives connecting many disciplines and spanning multiple colleges. These initiatives endeavor to solve complex and challenging problems in such fields as nanoscience, sustainable engineering, energy and the environment, biomedical engineering, complex systems and networks, advanced materials and information science.

Collins will be the chief academic and administrative officer for the college, which has about 240 faculty, 250 non-professorial academics, nearly 3,000 undergraduate and 1,400 graduate students and about 225 staff. As a member of Cornell's senior administration team, the dean reports to the provost and works closely with other deans and executive officers on behalf of the university as a whole.

"I consider the College of Engineering to be one of the crown jewels of the university, and one of the finest engineering colleges in the nation and the world," Collins said. "I am both honored and humbled in accepting the deanship."

Collins joined Cornell in 2002, following 11 years as assistant professor, associate professor and professor of chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Since 1999, he has also held a joint appointment in the mechanical and nuclear engineering department at Penn State, and in 1998 he was a visiting scientist at the Laboratoire de Combustion et Systemes Reactifs (a National Center for Scientific Research laboratory in Orleans, France) and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was director of graduate studies for aerospace engineering at Cornell 2003-05, and he served this academic year on Cornell's Strategic Plan Advisory Council.

Collins' research combines simulation and theory to study a variety of turbulent flow processes. His work on mechanisms of droplet breakup in turbulence was recognized with the 1997 Best Paper Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2007, he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

He earned his B.S.E. in 1981 at Princeton University and his M.S. in 1983 and his Ph.D. in 1987 at the University of Pennsylvania, all in chemical engineering.

Fuchs also expressed his appreciation for the leadership of the college's interim dean, Professor Christopher Ober. "I want to thank Chris for his exceptional service to Cornell and for ably leading the College of Engineering through a very challenging period during the past year and a half."