Virginia Tech has appointed Julia Ross as dean of the College of Engineering following an international search process.
Ross will begin at Virginia Tech on July 31.
"We are delighted to have Julia join our leadership team as the new dean of engineering," said Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis. "Julia brings exceptional collaborative leadership experience from one of the nation’s top universities for innovation and has worked diligently to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in engineering and information technology. Her interdisciplinary progressive approach to teaching and research will empower the college to address the changing landscape of education, forge new partnerships, and prepare students to address challenges on a global scale."
Ross currently serves as dean of engineering and information technology at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). UMBC is ranked No. 4 on U.S. News & World Reports' list of Most Innovative Schools and in the top 10 for best undergraduate teaching, the second highest-ranked public university in that category.
As dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, Ross will hold tenured appointments in the departments of chemical engineering and engineering education.
"I'm deeply humbled by the opportunity to lead such a highly ranked, nationally respected engineering college within a university that understands and values the changing landscape of technology and education," said Ross, the Constellation Professor of Information Technology and Engineering at UMBC. "It will be my privilege and honor to work with esteemed engineering faculty and students to advance our education and research portfolio."
During the past year, G. Don Taylor, the Charles O. Gordon Professor and head of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, has served as interim dean of the College of Engineering.
"We sincerely appreciate Don's commitment to the university and the College of Engineering," said President Tim Sands. "Through his leadership we were able to advance university goals and implement important strategic initiatives. He will continue to play a vital role as he facilitates Julia’s transition into the university and college.”
Since joining the UMBC faculty in 1995, Ross has served in various roles, including chair of chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering, and supported inter-institutional research initiatives as a special assistant to the provost. Her research focus centers on the role of fluid mechanics in infection formation in the cardiovascular system.
In October, Ross was elected to the executive committee of the Global Engineering Dean's Council, where she will serve a three-year term and work closely with engineering deans from around the world to advance engineering education, research, and service globally.
Ross is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2013, she received the American Council on Education fellowship, the nation's premier higher-education leadership development program preparing senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities.
Ross is the principal investigator leading the INcreasing Student Participation, Interest, and Recruitment in Engineering and Science (INSPIRES) K-12 initiative. The program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, partners with Baltimore County Schools to develop and implement an innovative curriculum that exposes high-school students to engineering earlier in their educational careers, through existing science and technology classes.
Ross holds a bachelor's degree from Purdue and a doctoral degree from Rice University, both in chemical engineering.