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Mary Cunningham Boyce Appointed Dean of SEAS

The new Dean!

The new Dean!

PrezBo just announced that Mary Cunningham Boyce will take over from Interim Dean Donald Goldfarb as the Dean of Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective July 1 2013.

From PrezBo’s press release:

Columbia is fortunate to welcome such an impressive dean at a time of both signal accomplishment and new opportunity for our School of Engineering and Applied Science as it approaches its 150th anniversary,” said Bollinger. “Professor Boyce has distinguished herself throughout her academic career not only as a scholar but also as a teacher and mentor driven by an abiding commitment to nurturing the next generation of engineers.”

Professor Boyce’s research interests include the molecular and nanomechanics of polymers, soft composites and soft tissues—studying the elastic, thermal and kinetic properties of physical systems at the nanometer scale. Her leadership in the field of the mechanics of materials, both those that are manufactured and those formed naturally, has expanded understanding of the interplay between micro-geometry and the inherent physical behavior of a material, which has led to innovative hybrid material designs. Models and results from Professor Boyce’s group have the potential to influence a range of industrial and academic fields from polymer processing to composite material design, tire mechanics, biological cells and tissues. Her expertise will further enhance Columbia’s strength in the study of nanotechnology and nanomaterials.

“Columbia’s convergence of talented individuals from diverse disciplines positions it as a focal point for innovation,” said Boyce, “Our society has become both more inspired by and more demanding of engineers’ role in developing solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges, and working together we can be instrumental in building that future. The next decade offers unique opportunities to further expand the excellence and impact of the school. I am excited to be part of that future.”

The author of more than 150 publications with her group, Boyce is well known for her collaborative work and leadership in overseeing research teams that bring together faculty from different departments and universities. She has received numerous honors in recognition of her scholarly achievements, including election as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.

Boyce has also been honored for her teaching at MIT, where she was named the MacVicar Faculty Fellow for outstanding teaching, mentoring and educational innovation and received the Joseph Henry Keenan Innovation in Undergraduate Education Award. She also served on the MIT Engineering Council and the MIT International Advisory Council. She received a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Virginia Tech in 1981 and then a master of science from MIT in 1983, where she also earned her Ph.D. in 1987.

Over the past decade, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science has steadily risen both in national standing and in its significance at Columbia as the University pursues an increasingly interdisciplinary academic mission in both the laboratory and the classroom. The school has forged a wide range of research partnerships with Columbia University Medical Center in Washington Heights, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and other schools on the Morningside campus that have generated important discoveries.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science has long been a leader in offering respected degrees through distance learning at a moment when online courses are becoming an important new part of higher education. With seed funding from the City of New York, the University is launching a new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering at the school that will not only build on the pioneering work of scholars across several critical areas of an information-rich economy and society, but also provide a new platform for significant growth of the school’s faculty in the years ahead. Engineering faculty also plays a key leadership role at the Earth Institute, developing critical solutions for a more sustainable environment. Columbia’s new Northwest Corner Building—where engineers are working together with other researchers in several innovative lab groups across diverse disciplines—and the long-term development of the Manhattanville campus offer new opportunities for the expansion of the school’s research and teaching.

“While still relatively small in size, the percentage of our engineering faculty elected to the national academies of Engineering and Sciences would rank Columbia among the nation’s top five engineering schools,” Bollinger said. “I have every confidence that Mary Boyce will provide the kind of leadership and vision to make the most of the remarkable talent and dedication that exist at Columbia Engineering.




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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Female dean of engineering? YOU GO GLEN COCO

  • Debbie Downer says:

    @Debbie Downer Actually, both Harvard and Yale have female SEAS deans, making us followers, not leaders.

    1. FU says:

      @FU Dude, we are talking about real engineering schools here

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous They are not separate schools like Columbia. Also Columbia’s engineering is way better than Harvard’s or Yale’s.

      1. Alum says:

        @Alum That used to be true, but it isn’t anymore. Harvard’s SEAS formally opened in 2007, and Yale’s in 2008.

      2. Alum says:

        @Alum Harvard’s engineering faculty is probably stronger than CU’s per capita. If it were as big as Columbia’s, it would be ranked higher (at least for now). But you’re right about Yale.

  • CC '12 says:

    @CC '12 nickname contest submission: MC Hammer (because of the SEAS logo, ya feel me?)

    1. kelis says:

      @kelis my milkshake brings all the boyce to the yard

    2. SEAS '14 says:

      @SEAS '14 Boyce-II-men

    3. Better... says:

      @Better... Dean Boycetrous

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous she looks weirdly like that SpecSucks kid

    1. The Dark Hand says:

      @The Dark Hand ssshhhh

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Clearly the best choice of the four finalists, this is awesome

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Yay Boyce!

  • SEAS 13 says:

    @SEAS 13 Wish I didn’t have to graduate. Hope she’s as awesome as she sounds

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous isn’t she the first female dean? i kinda feel like that should be noted somewhere. perhaps we’re living in a weird transition period of history where the achievements of minorities (women and blacks in particular) are becoming commonplace* and, therefore, unnoteworthy.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous first female dean of seas

    2. anon says:

      @anon As a man it is my privilege to say that this should be noted somewhere

    3. but actually says:

      @but actually Just out of curiosity, does anyone have reliable information on whether she is actually the first female SEAS dean? I thought I remembered hearing that but I can’t for the life of me find the info anywhere.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous spec reported a month ago that boyce (if chosen) would be “the first female dean of SEAS”

      2. Alum says:

        @Alum She’s the first. SEAS didn’t even get its first female tenured professor until the late ’80s. There have only been three permanent deans (Auston, Galil and Pena-Mora) and two acting deans (Navratil and Goldfarb) since then. All of them were men.

  • SEAS '17 says:

    @SEAS '17 Just in time for me!!!

    1. go says:

      @go away. too soon. go enjoy the end of high school

  • person says:

    @person I am glad they did not make a big deal about the female thing. It would distract from the fact that she is so qualified.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous fuck this shit, bring back penia-mora, dude jumped in that awesome photo with all our SEAS hats. shit takes balls

  • BSGS says:

    @BSGS Her record looks great! Hope I get into that PhD program at SEAS now.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Hopefully she ll last longer than peña mora – looks like a nice lady. Good luck Mary!

  • I mean says:

    @I mean Mother Mary

  • Name idea says:

    @Name idea MaBoy

  • Alright: Got It says:

    @Alright: Got It Dean Cung-Fu

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