Dean of College of Engineering to step down

BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 18, 2005 – President Charles Steger and Provost Mark McNamee reported today that Dr. Hassan Aref, dean of the College of Engineering, has announced he will be stepping down from his position in the near future. McNamee indicated that he will conduct an expedited internal search to select a new dean for the college and will work with Aref on a timetable for the transition.

"Over the past two years, Hassan Aref implemented a number of changes that position the college for sustained growth and development in the years ahead," said McNamee. "His leadership in faculty recruitment, curricular enhancement, the development of the System X supercomputer, and the launch of the new Institute of Critical Technology and Science, are significant achievements during his tenure as dean."

"The College of Engineering is Virginia Tech's most prominent college and plays a critical role in the university's plans to expand its research capacity in partnership with the other colleges and institutes," said Steger. "The college and the university community look forward to working together in a spirit of collaboration to achieve our goal of becoming a Top 30 research university by 2010."

Aref will continue to hold a tenured appointment as full professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics as the Reynolds Metal Professor, an endowed faculty position.

"I am very proud of my record of accomplishments at Virginia Tech, said Aref. "Administrative leadership of the terascale computer project, System X, was a thrill that I will always cherish. The transformation of Engineering Fundamentals into the Department of Engineering Education has brought new life to this unit. The hiring of four excellent department heads and some 40 faculty of high quality bodes well for the future of the college."

Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Aref had been professor and head of the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research interests are in theoretical and computational fluid mechanics, particularly vortex dynamics, the application of chaos to fluid flows, and the mechanics of foams. He is co-editor of two books and author of some 70 papers in premier journals.