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Professor Prabhat Hajela Appointed Provost

To: The Rensselaer Community
From: Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
Professor of Engineering Sciences
Date: May 25, 2012
Re: Professor Prabhat Hajela Appointed Provost

I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Dr. Prabhat Hajela, Acting Provost and Professor of Aerospace Engineering, as Provost of Rensselaer, effective July 1, 2012. Following an international search, Dr. Hajela emerged as the leading candidate among an exceptionally strong pool of candidates for the position.

Dr. Hajela brings to the position a wealth of experience as a leader in teaching, research, administration, and faculty governance gained during his distinguished career in higher education. Since joining Rensselaer in 1990, he has touched the lives of generations of students and given guidance to scores of faculty members through his work as an academic and administrative leader. This experience will serve him well in his new position.

In his role as Vice Provost, he has been instrumental in helping Rensselaer maintain its leadership position in undergraduate education. Under the auspices of the Undergraduate Plan, he led the expansion of undergraduate research programs, developed several new study abroad and international experience opportunities, and created the framework for living and learning communities. He has collaborated closely with the Office of Student Life in the implementation of the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS) program.

Dr. Hajela's administrative mandate has included the oversight of all undergraduate programs at the Institute, including engaging the five academic schools in program development and implementation. He has supported activities related to the operation of the academic enterprise, including summer and outreach programs, international programs, academic support of all students, learning outcomes assessment, promoting pedagogical advances, and helping identify infrastructure development priorities as related to instructional needs at the Institute. He has provided energetic management to the Advising and Learning Assistance Center, Office of International Programs, Office of Research and Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Summer and Academic Outreach Programs, and the ROTC Programs.

Dr. Hajela is an expert in complex system analysis and design in the presence of uncertainty. He has published over 270 papers and articles in the areas of structural and multidisciplinary optimization, and is an author/editor of four books in these areas. He has held editorial assignments and serves on the editorial boards of several international journals. He has conducted research at NASA's Langley and Glenn Research Centers, and at the Eglin Air Force Armament Laboratory. He also worked at the Boeing Company as the Boeing-A.D. Welliver Fellow in 1995.

Dr. Hajela has been active in several national and international organizations. He is a past Vice President of the International Society of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, and a past Chair of ASME's Aerospace Division, an organization that serves over 15,000 ASME members with interest in aerospace engineering. In 2003, he served as a Congressional Fellow responsible for Science and Technology Policy in the Office of U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). He worked on several legislative issues related to aerospace and telecommunications policy, including the anti-SPAM legislation (CAN-SPAM) that was signed into law in December 2003. Dr. Hajela has served on different National Academies panels related to aerospace and aviation research, including the first Decadal Survey of Aeronautics.

In 2004, Dr. Hajela was the recipient of AIAA's Biennial Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award. He is a Lifetime Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Dr. Hajela received his undergraduate degree (with distinction) in 1977 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He received master's degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University (1979) and in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University (1981). He was awarded his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 1982 and did postdoctoral training at UCLA before joining the University of Florida as a faculty member in 1983, where he was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1987. He was recruited to Rensselaer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 1992. He served as President and Chair of the Faculty Senate from 1999 to 2002, and was appointed Vice Provost in 2005. He also served as Administrative Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences during the 2010-11 academic year.

When I asked Dr. Hajela to take on the role of Acting Provost, I said that a top priority for me would be to work closely with him and the academic deans toward our shared objective of implementing The Rensselaer Plan and further developing the academic resources of Rensselaer. Let me take this opportunity to reiterate that priority. We have set ambitious goals as we seek to attract and retain the very best faculty across the range of existing and emerging fields represented at Rensselaer, and to further enhance our research and learning environment as we continue to evolve as a technological research university of global reach and global impact.

Please join me in wishing Dr. Hajela the greatest success in his new role, and in offering the full support of our administrative and academic leadership in pursuit of our shared goals on behalf of our university.