College of Engineering names associate deans for research, innovation

June 07, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — George Lesieutre and Chris Rahn have been appointed to associate dean positions in the College of Engineering at Penn State.

Lesieutre, who serves as head of Penn State's aerospace engineering department, has been named associate dean for research, and Chris Rahn, professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, is the college's new associate dean for innovation.

They will work collaboratively with Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering Amr Elnashai and other college leadership, as well as the Office of the Vice President for Research, the dean of the Graduate School, the vice provost for Global Programs, the directors of University research institutes, the Office of Technology Management, the Office of Sponsored Programs and the leadership of other colleges to advance the College of Engineering’s research and innovation priorities.

Both Lesieutre and Rahn will also continue their teaching and research efforts in their respective departments.

"Having George and Chris working in their departments part time will avoid the loss of talent and research activities in aerospace and mechanical engineering," explained Elnashai.

Lesieutre said he is delighted to have the opportunity to help elevate the research capacity, impact and profile of the college as associate dean for research.

"The key to our success involves unleashing our faculty members to do what they do best: defining research problems that matter, and pursuing timely solutions while educating students," he said.

In his new role, Lesieutre plans to streamline the college's research acquisition and administrative processes and strengthen professional support staff, as well as encourage entrepreneurship and expand partnerships with industry.

"My experience as a longtime department head and as director of the Center for Acoustics and Vibration should serve me well on these fronts," said Lesieutre. "I look forward to working closely with associate dean for innovation, Chris Rahn, to help build a culture of research leadership in our college."

Rahn said he is also excited about working with engineering faculty and staff to advance the college's major research initiatives through faculty development, sponsor and team relationship building, and resource planning.

"I have been forming strong research teams, leading major research efforts and conducting interdisciplinary research for almost 25 years. The ADI position is a great opportunity for me to share my experience and connections with my colleagues to expand their research activities," he said.

Lesieutre came to Penn State in 1989 after holding positions at Rockwell International and SPARTA Inc. He became head of the aerospace engineering department in 2004.

His areas of research and teaching include aerospace structural dynamics, vibration and noise control, active structures and health monitoring.

A Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Lesieutre has been recognized for his work with five best paper awards; the UCEA Mid-Atlantic Program & Activities Award (wind energy); the AIAA Sustained Service Award; the AIAA Zarem Educator Award; the 2014 AIAA Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Lecture; and the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Outstanding Research Award. In 2006, he was selected as a Fellow of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Department Executive Officers Program.

Lesieutre earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master's and doctorate degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Prior to joining Penn State in 2000, Rahn was a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. He currently serves as director of Penn State's Mechatronics Research Laboratory and co-director of the University's Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center.

Rahn's research in the modeling, analysis, design and control of mechatronic systems has been supported by the Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Army, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and industry, and has garnered awards from the Department of Defense, Clemson University, Penn State and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

An ASME Fellow, Rahn earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and his master's and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

"During our search it became clear that the expanded role of the office of research that comprises both serving the faculty and leading our research endeavors with state, federal and corporate partners would be much better served by two individuals, not one," said Elnashai. "I think this is a great development that will serve the college and the departments very well."

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Last Updated June 16, 2016