UA appoints first woman to lead College of Engineering as dean

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 450 views 

Photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas.

Kim Needy, dean of the Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas, has been named to a one-year appointment as dean of the College of Engineering.

Needy will replace John English, who will assume the role of vice chancellor for research and innovation in November. Needy will be the first woman to lead the College of Engineering as dean, according to a UA news release sent Tuesday (Sept. 29).

Pat Koski, a longtime leader in the Graduate School, will fill Needy’s vacancy on a 10-month appointment as dean of the Graduate School and International Education. Needy’s and Koski’s appointments are effective Nov. 1.

“Dr. Needy’s administrative experience and engineering expertise make her a perfect fit to lead the College of Engineering,” said Charles Robinson, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “And Dr. Koski has been a critical contributor and leader in the Graduate School and International Education throughout her tenure and will provide stability during this time of transition. I am thrilled that they are stepping into these new leadership roles at the university, and I’m excited to work with them both.”

Needy, a national leader in the field of industrial engineering, has led the graduate school since 2014, including a one-year interim appointment as vice provost for research and innovation, according to a news release. She is a co-author of more than 150 papers and the textbook, “Fundamentals of Engineering Economic Analysis.” She has also been awarded 38 research grants from various agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Education and Construction Industry Institute and has been in multiple leadership roles in professional societies including president of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. The reputation of the graduate school has grown regionally and nationally under her leadership, the release shows.

“I am honored to accept the College of Engineering deanship,” Needy said. “I acknowledge the great responsibility that has been placed upon me being the first woman to serve in this capacity. I embrace this challenge with enthusiasm at the prospect of serving the excellent College of Engineering administration, faculty, staff and student body. I am confident that under the talented leadership of Dean Patricia Koski, the Graduate School and International Education will continue to thrive.”

Koski has served as the associate dean of the Graduate School and International Education since 1998 and worked under three deans while staff increased from 10 to nearly 80. She began her career at the university in 1984 as visiting assistant professor in sociology and was named department chair in 1993.

Over the past 20 years as associate dean, she had led efforts to increase diversity at the UA, to create interdisciplinary graduate degree programs, to strengthen retention and graduation, and to encourage the voice of graduate students, according to the news release. She has earned a reputation on campus for engaging the voices of graduate students and for promoting student advocacy. She started the Graduate Dean’s Student Advisory Board before the UA graduate student governing body was established. Six years ago, she helped students start the Graduate Professional Student Congress to provide graduate students with a formal voice in student government. She also meets regularly with leadership in the Black Graduate Student Association.

“The opportunity to lead the Graduate School and International Education is both humbling and exciting,” Koski said. “The importance of the dual aspects within the unit – graduate and international education – are more vital to our university than ever before, and I look forward to working alongside our faculty and staff to support our students’ efforts.”

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