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Provost names Sol Eisenberg dean ad interim at ENG

Search for a permanent dean starts now

Sol Eisenberg

Provost David Campbell announced on Friday, October 7, the appointment of Solomon R. Eisenberg as dean ad interim of the College of Engineering. The post has been vacant since September 22, when Campbell, the previous dean of ENG, was named provost of Boston University.

“Sol’s considerable experience as our current associate dean for undergraduate programs and his service on our Executive Committee means that he is fully familiar with all aspects of the College, so we will not miss a beat going forward,” Campbell says.

Eisenberg completed his doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT in 1983 and has taught at ENG since then. He has served as associate dean for undergraduate programs since 1998.

As associate dean, he ushered the college through a successful accreditation process in 2003, which employed an updated set of guidelines that were more complex than the past requirements of the Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology (ABET).

This experience added to his strength as a choice for dean ad interim, Campbell said. “His leadership role in our recent ABET accreditation review allowed him to develop close working relationships with nearly every member of our faculty, and I am confident that his engineering colleagues will be pleased with his selection.”

Eisenberg also helped develop study-abroad programs specifically designed for undergraduates in engineering. He worked closely with the Division of International Programs to develop an engineering curriculum in Dresden, Germany, and in Guadalajara, Mexico. Now in its fifth year, the program in Germany last year had 38 students, its largest class so far.

“It’s especially important for technical professionals to think globally and have international training,” Eisenberg says. “And even if they go to Germany and end up doing business in India, it will still pay dividends.”

Eisenberg says that an independent college without the kind of support offered by the university-wide Division of International Programs would have a difficult time putting together such a program. “We have such a robust network from the international programs office and a commitment to developing programs,” he says. “That combination is really unique.”

ENG comprises four departments: aerospace and mechanical engineering; biomedical engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and manufacturing engineering. It also supports eight primary research centers and five affiliated research centers.

Over the years Eisenberg has taken on many committee responsibilities at ENG and within the University at large, including several positions on biomedical engineering committees. The biomedical engineering program at ENG has had rapid growth in recent years and remains the most popular program for undergraduates, enrolling 302 of the college’s 1,166 students. Staffed by 111 tenured or tenure-track faculty and 8 research faculty, ENG also has 182 master’s candidates and 226 Ph.D. candidates. Enrollment has been growing slowly but steadily over the last few years, Eisenberg says. He doesn’t anticipate making any bold change as dean ad interim, but hopes to keep the school moving forward as the search for a permanent dean gets under way.

President Robert Brown and Campbell say they plan to immediately set up a search committee for a permanent dean. According to the Faculty Handbook, the search requires three faculty members from ENG to be elected to the advisory committee, two faculty members to be elected by the Faculty Council from other Schools, and up to three members to be designated by the Provost. Campbell added that he intends to appoint one ENG undergraduate as a student member of the committee, as allowed by the Handbook.

“We intend to have the committee formed by no later than the end of this month and will charge them with soliciting nominations from both internal and external candidates. The committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to me, as Provost, with the final selection made by the President and then approved by the Board of Trustees. I hope that we will have the new Dean named by early in 2006.”