Folks named engineering dean
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
After narrowing the field to four candidates, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has selected Liesl Folks as the new dean of the engineering school.
Folks’ position will be effective at the beginning of the Spring 2013 semester. She will be one of seven women in the nation serving as dean of a school of engineering.
“I am very excited to be joining the UB team next month,” Folks said in an email. “I look forward to gaining an understanding of the great depth and breadth of activities underway in SEAS and to working with the excellent students, staff and faculty on achieving the strategic goals of SEAS and UB. I am sure it will take some adjustment for me to migrate from industry back to academia, but I have already received many kind offers of help from the UB team, for which I am very grateful.”
Folks will replaceHarvey G. Stenger Jr., who stepped down in April 2011 when he became the interim provost and eventually the president of Binghamton University.
RajanBatta, an industrial and systems engineering professor, has served as the acting dean since Stenger’s departure.
Folks has 15 years of experience in the private sector as a nanotechnologist in the magnetic data storage industry in Silicon Valley. She is an internationally recognized leader in scanning probe microscopy.
Folks is looking forward to leaving a mark on UB in her new position and plans to use real-world experience to achieve her goals for SEAS.
Provost Charles Zukoski was crucial in the selection process. He said the 12 deans of all the schools at UB report to him and, as a result, he has a primary responsibility for their appointments.
It was the combination of Folks’ experience in the private sector and academia that ultimately led to the decision, according to Zukoski.
“Dr. Folks has a unique blend of academic and industry experience and is the ideal candidate to lead the SEAS,” Zukoski said in an email. “Her credentials in managing research organizations, her association with academic institutions and her energy and enthusiasm about the educational enterprise led me to offer [her the position].”
Bruce Pitman, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was on the search committee that was responsible for interviewing candidates and reporting findings to Zukoski and President Satish Tripathi. Before the selection was made, Pitman said “the next dean needs to develop a vision for the School [of Engineering and Applied Sciences] and a pathway to increase the prestige and reputation for SEAS.”
Zukoski agrees and believes Folks is the candidate who exemplifies what UB and SEAS are looking for.
“Dr. Folks brings a clear and ambitious vision for the future direction of engineering education and research,” Zukoski said. “With this vision, she brings deep experience in understanding the needs of the private sector and how the research undertaken by faculty and students can have an impact both regionally and globally.”