Arkansas State University appoints new engineering dean

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 383 views 

Dr. Abhijit Bhattacharyya, has accepted the appointment as the inaugural dean for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Arkansas State University. Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced Bhattacharyya’s appointment, Wednesday (Feb. 13) which will take effect at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1, 2019.

For the past two and a half years, Bhattacharyya has served as the interim vice provost for research and dean of the graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Bhattacharyya has also managed the office of research and sponsored programs, the office of research compliance, the TechLaunch Office, and the Machine and Electronics Shop of UA Little Rock.

“I consider it a very humbling moment and an incredible privilege to begin my service at A-State as the inaugural dean of the newly minted College of Engineering and Computer Science,” Bhattacharyya said. “The passion and dedication of the outstanding faculty and staff of the college towards the student learning experience and student success came through loud and clear during my visit to Jonesboro. Meeting with a cross-section of the students in the college was a truly energizing experience. We will take full advantage of the birth of the new college at a time when manufacturing and industrial activity in the upper Delta region are on a growth streak.”

Bhattacharyya’s appointment is the first for the newly reorganized college at ASU, according to the school. This past year, Chancellor Damphousse oversaw the combination of the three ABET-accredited engineering programs with the university’s department of computer science to create the new college.

“For the past 18 months, I have met with many industry leaders in Northeast Arkansas,” Damphousse said. “They need more A-State engineering graduates and we are committed to meeting that need. Creating the college of engineering and computer science in 2018 was an important first step. Hiring someone with Dr. Bhattacharyya’s impeccable record as our inaugural dean of the new college was the logical next step. We are now poised to meet the pressing need of industry and manufacturers in the upper Delta. I am excited to serve alongside Abhijit in the coming years.”

Bhattacharyya’s areas of research specialty are the emerging fields of smart materials and thin films, with numerous journal articles and peer-reviewed conference papers in the field. He has received national level funding for projects, including NASA, DARPA and NSF-EPSCOR. His research includes work in composite materials, shape memory alloys, piezoelectric materials, thin films, microfluidics and hydrogen storage.

Joining UA Little Rock as an associate professor in January 2002, Bhattacharyya was promoted to full professor in July 2006, and also became the graduate coordinator of the applied science doctoral program at UA Little Rock. He played a role in the administration of a joint graduate program between UA Little Rock and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in bioinformatics and served as UALR’s representative to the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority’s Science Advisory Committee.

Currently, he serves as UA Little Rock’s representative on the Science Advisory Committee of the Science and Technology Division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers named him an ASME Fellow in November 2014.

Prior to Little Rock, Bhattacharyya served as a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He also spent two years as a senior research associate in the department of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University in the mid-1990s.

Earning his doctorate at Rutgers University in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Bhattacharyya also received his master’s degree in mechanics and materials science from Rutgers. His bachelor’s degree came from Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur in his native India. He and his wife, Dr. Sudeepa Bhattacharyya, have two children: Trisha, a senior at UC Berkeley finishing up her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and Isha, who is in seventh grade.

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