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Dean Jeff Ray to lead Western Carolina U’s Kimmel School

Dean Jeff Ray to lead Western Carolina U’s Kimmel School

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JULY 30, 2014 – Dr. Jeff Ray, dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Management since 2007, has been named as the next dean of the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology at Western Carolina University (WCU) in Cullowhee, N.C., effective Aug. 1. He will also join the university’s Department of Engineering and Technology as a tenured professor.

Dr. Ray’s appointment was announced by WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar in July following approval by the executive committee of the WCU Board of Trustees.

During his tenure as dean at SPSU, Dr. Ray helped develop his school’s first strategic plan, coordinated three major accreditation processes, and acquired funding for more than $2.5 million in new and replacement equipment. He also created and developed two new undergraduate programs and one new graduate program that were approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Dr. Ray said he was drawn to the Kimmel School position, in part, because of the school’s emphasis on project-based learning, in which students not only study theoretical aspects of engineering and technology, but also apply those theories in hands-on projects designed to help solve real problems faced by industry partners across western North Carolina, under the oversight of faculty mentors.

“Further developing applied, industry- and government-sponsored research projects for undergraduate and graduate students is a high priority for applied science and engineering, technology and construction management, including entrepreneurial opportunities,” he said. “Promoting experiential and project-based learning for students is critical in meeting the needs of students and employers.”

Prior to joining SPSU, Dr. Ray served as director and a professor in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University in Allendale Charter Township, Mich., from 2004 until 2007, and as associate professor and chair of the mechanical engineering program there from 1997 until 2004. He also previously was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Youngstown State University in Ohio and a biomedical research engineer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Ray is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), serving as chair of the organization’s engineering technology council and vice president of its institutional councils. He was recently named a 2014 ASEE Fellow in recognition of his distinguished accomplishments on behalf of the society.

He earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville.