Clark School Dean Darryll Pines has announced that Professor Elisabeth Smela (ME/ISR) will become the college’s next Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Programs, effective Sept. 1, 2017.
Smela follows Professor Peter Kofinas in the position. Kofinas, now the chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will step down from his role as Associate Dean on Aug. 30. During the interim period before Smela starts her duties, Kofinas will act in a dual capacity role as Associate Dean and Chair.
In his announcement, Dean Pines wrote, “Dr. Smela brings exceptional experience and scholarship to her new role as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Programs. Dr. Smela is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering; she has a joint appointment in the Institute for Systems Research and holds affiliate appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She earned a B.S. in physics from MIT and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. As a graduate student she spent a summer as an NSF fellow in Japan. She moved to Linköping University in Sweden as a postdoc and then became a research scientist, followed by a position as a researcher at Risø National Lab in Denmark. Before joining the University of Maryland, she helped start the company Santa Fe Science and Technology in New Mexico as Vice President of Research and Development.
“Dr. Smela's research is interdisciplinary, primarily focusing on devices that incorporate organic materials, from polymers to living cells. She collaborates closely with faculty across the Clark School to tackle scientific and engineering challenges in this area. She is internationally known for her work on microfabricated electroactive polymer actuators. Among her awards are the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from NSF and the E. Robert Kent Junior Faculty Teaching Award. She has a long-term interest in equity issues, which she has pursued, among other ways, while serving on the University Senate Executive Committee and as an ADVANCE Professor.”
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