James (Jim) Rankin, the chief research officer and professor of electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas, will return to his alma mater as the 19th president of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, a science and engineering research university in Rapid City.
Rankin, a South Dakota native, was announced as president by the South Dakota Board of Regents in November. He’s expected to begin Jan. 8.
“I am very honored to be returning to SD Mines as its 19th president. I know firsthand the excellent academic preparation that students receive here,” Rankin said in a statement. “A 98% placement rate for 10 straight years is a testament to the quality education provided by the outstanding Mines’ faculty. There will be a continued emphasis on the success of our students.”
Rankin came to the UA from Ohio University in 2010. Under his leadership as vice provost for research and innovation, the UA generated more than 50 startup companies and significantly increased annual external funding to $103 million.
He led efforts to develop the institution’s first strategic plan in research and economic development, instituted several faculty recognition programs, and developed an expedited industry contracting process.
Rankin succeeds Jan A. Puszynski (YAWN push-IN’-skee), who served in an interim capacity this year as president after Heather Wilson left the university to become United States Air Force Secretary. Puszynski will continue in his position as Mines’ vice president of research.
The UA has appointed Dean Kim Needy as interim vice provost for research and innovation, effective Jan. 3.