LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Engineering has celebrated several achievements recently, including completion of the new Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center and groundbreaking for the second phase of the Learned Engineering Expansion. The latest cause for celebration is today’s announcement of new Dean of Engineering Michael Branicky.
Branicky currently serves as professor and chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland. He will join the School of Engineering as dean on July 1.
He replaces Stuart Bell, who served as dean for 10 years prior to joining Louisiana State University as provost and executive vice chancellor last August. Albert P. Learned Distinguished Professor Stan Rolfe has been serving as interim dean and will continue in that role until July 1.
“I am very excited that we will have a leader of Michael’s caliber and energy to assume the helm of the School of Engineering,” Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Vitter said in announcing the appointment. “KU Engineering has made great progress under Dean Bell’s tenure and is now positioned with Michael’s leadership to move to even higher levels of excellence and visibility. Michael is the ideal choice to take KU from being the highest-ranked program in the state to becoming one of the highest-ranked public programs in the nation.”
Branicky has served as a faculty member at CWRU since 1996 and as department chair since 2010. He is a past program manager at the National Science Foundation, where he was awarded the Director’s Superior Accomplishment Award, the highest directorate-level award at NSF. More recently, he served as an external expert to NSF for the National Robotics Initiative.
“I am looking forward to leading the school during a period of growth and expansion of its reputation and excellence,” said Branicky. “I am eager to work with our faculty and students to pursue goals that take their research, teaching, scholarship and leadership in the field to the next level.”
Branicky holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and applied physics from CWRU. He earned his doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 1995. His academic record includes more than 100 journal and conference articles and more than $7 million in external awards.
“The KU School of Engineering is poised to become a national leader as it continues to implement the Building on Excellence initiative,” said Branicky. “I look forward to working with each of the programs to maintain high quality in education while continuing to elevate and expand our research.”
A search advisory committee, led by Ken Audus, dean of the KU School of Pharmacy, conducted a nationwide search for the new dean. The committee was aided by Jerry Baker of Baker and Associates of Marietta, Ga.
“The KU community is grateful for the hard work and dedication of Dean Rolfe, Dean Audus and the search committee during this period of transition for the School of Engineering,” said Vitter.