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College Names Two New Assistant Deans

Nina Welding • DATE: September 21, 2015

Categories:  Press Release

Peter Kilpatrick, the McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has announced the appointment of Kenneth T. Christensen, the College of Engineering Collegiate Professor of Fluid Mechanics, and Ronald A. Metoyer, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, as assistant deans of the College of Engineering.

According to Kilpatrick, faculty development and enhancing the diversity of our faculty are two of the college’s highest priorities. In his role as assistant dean of faculty development, Christensen is focusing on faculty mentoring and professional development.  Many of the departments in the College of Engineering have good formal and informal mentoring programs, but the need exists for greater opportunities for professional development in fund raising and in teaching excellence. A major part of Christensen’s role will be communicating important opportunities for faculty development and creating and coordinating those opportunities. One example is a teaching excellence and faculty mentoring workshop that he is organizing for Spring 2016 led by Richard M. Felder, the Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, and Rebecca Brent, president of Education Designs, Inc., two of the best known workshop facilitators in engineering education.

Christensen’s research expertise is in experimental fluid mechanics. With a joint faculty appointment between the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, he focuses on turbulence interactions with complex topography encountered in a range of engineering systems, flow interactions and coupling with complex bedforms that form and evolve in both aeolean and subaqueous natural environments, and multi-phase flow within heterogeneous porous media with application to geologic carbon dioxide sequestration.  

A fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Christensen is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and an associate editor for the Journal of Visualization. He also serves on the editorial boards of Experiments in Fluids and Measurement Science and Technology.

Christensen is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the AFOSR Young Investigator Award in 2006, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2007, the Francois Frenkiel Award for Fluid Mechanics from the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in 2011, and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2012 from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as professor, Kritzer Faculty Scholar, and associate head for undergraduate and mechanics programs in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty in 2014.

Metoyer will play an important role as assistant dean of diversity and special initiatives. His immediate task is to expand the pool and recruitment of under-represented groups as tenure and tenure-track faculty. He also will serve as liaison to the new director of academic diversity in the provost’s office.  A substantial portion of Metoyer’s role will be to identify diverse faculty candidates, ensure that these candidates when appropriate make the short list in faculty searches, and help identify sources of funding for diverse faculty hiring.  As with Christensen, a significant part of Metoyer’s role will be to communicate important opportunities for identifying diverse faculty candidates to hiring committees and department chairs. 

Metoyer’s research area is human-computer interaction with an emphasis on information visualization.  He focuses on the visual representation of complex multivariate datasets in various domain–specific contexts, visual representation and analysis of diversity, visualization design, and interaction on mobile devices.

Metoyer also has extensive experience in mentoring underrepresented students and most recently served as the program chair for the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference.

Metoyer was the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2002 and the 2014 Vice Provost’s Award for Excellence in Innovation at Oregon State University where he served as associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

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