UNL selects Rensselaer's Timothy Wei as Engineering dean

UNL selects Rensselaer's Timothy Wei as Engineering dean

Calendar Icon Apr 18, 2011      Person Bust Icon By Kelly Bartling | UComm     RSS Feed RSS

Timothy Wei
Timothy Wei

Timothy Wei, professor and head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., has been selected as the new dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Ellen Weissinger, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, announced the selection today. Wei will take over his duties at UNL on June 1, pending approval of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Wei succeeds David Allen, who stepped down June 30, 2010, after nearly eight years in the post. James O'Hanlon is the interim dean of the College of Engineering.

Wei (pronouced "way") has been head of Rensselaer's mechanical aerospace and nuclear engineering department since 2006, and was interim dean from June 2008 to August 2009. His research interests are in coupling fundamental fluid dynamics experiments with critical technologies of socio-technological importance. He earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell, his master's from Lehigh University, both in mechanical engineering; and his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.

"Dr. Wei is an ideal match for UNL's collaborative leadership culture and for the college's high aspirations," Weissinger said. "He is a student-focused academic administrator, an accomplished researcher who understands the needs of industry and a person of deep integrity. He's also a Michigan graduate with a keen understanding of what it will mean for us to build a Big Ten engineering school. The campus community, and all Nebraskans, will be proud to have Tim as our engineering dean."

Wei was one of five finalists chosen by a search committee.

Before joining Rensselaer in 2006, Wei worked at Rutgers University as professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. There, he oversaw the formation of multidisciplinary, university-industry research teams that focus on the fundamental issues behind key technological problems. The teams have developed joint proposals on such wide-ranging topics as advanced materials manufacturing research, clean-burning coal, and arterial disease.

Wei has pursued experimental fluid dynamics in a vast range of applications, from the effect of flow on endothelial cells to the use of polymer additives to reduce drag. His research has attracted millions in grant funding from such agencies as the Office of Naval Research, NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

He has advised a number of student airplane and car teams participating in national competitions, and with USA Swimming, he employed state-of-the-art flow measurement techniques to improve the performance of swimmers in the 2008 Olympic Games.

"I am thrilled to be joining the students, staff and faculty of UNL," Wei said. "This really is a great opportunity to work with some gifted and committed people in building a community around a vision we create that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. As we move into the Big Ten, we will collectively design and build transcendent paradigms for engineering education and research focused toward the 22nd century. I can think of no greater opportunity and am so grateful and humbled to be selected for this position."

Wei is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, the American Physical Society and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.