Stephanie Adams, currently an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, will join Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering on Aug. 10 as the new head of its engineering education department.

“Dr. Adams is a highly accomplished scholar and administrator in the world of engineering education. I am extremely confident about the future of our engineering education department under Dr. Adams’ proven leadership,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.

“I am thrilled about this opportunity. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and students to increase the visibility and reputation of the department nationally and internationally. Specifically, I hope to create a strategic plan to drive the department and form alliances with other department heads within the college to expand the reach and impact of the department,” Adams said.

Adams is a past recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, given to support her goal of designing, developing, and validating a model for the facilitation of effective teaming in the engineering classroom. She also received the American Society of Engineering Education’s 2008 DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award. In 2006, she was an invited participant at the U.S. Frontiers in Engineering Symposium hosted by the National Academy of Engineering.

Adams has spent the past three years at Virginia Commonwealth University. From 2008 until 2010 she served as the associate dean for undergraduate studies. She was responsible for providing leadership for all of the school of engineering’s programs associated with undergraduate education including: outreach, recruitment, admissions, advising, curriculum development, scholarships, and transfer students.

When she stepped down from this position, she remained at the Richmond, Va., university as a tenured professor in its mechanical engineering department.

Adams’ resume also includes a 10-year stint at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln from 1998 until 2008. She started as an assistant professor of industrial and management systems engineering, and within four years moved to an administrative track. In 2002 she joined the university’s graduate studies office as interim associate dean and special assistant to the dean. In 2004, she was promoted to the assistant dean for research in engineering. In 2007 she was named the associate dean for undergraduate education.

Concurrently, from 2005 until 2007 Adams also served as a program officer with the National Science Foundation’s Division of Engineering Education. Her responsibilities at the government agency included organizing and conducting review panels on a variety of topics related to research in engineering education. She also managed the division’s budget of some $10 million. She simultaneously spent the 2005-06 academic year as an American Association for the Advancement of Science/National Science Foundation Science and Engineering Policy Fellow.

Adams is an honor graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1989. In 1991 she was awarded her master’s degree is systems engineering from the University of Virginia, and she received her doctorate in interdisciplinary engineering from Texas A&M in 1998.

She holds membership in a number of organizations and presently serves on the American Society of Engineering Education’s Board of Directors and on the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology Cooperative Science Center’s Advisory Board at North Carolina A&T State University.

Adams is replacing Hayden Griffin, the first head of the engineering education department, created in 2004. Griffin now serves as chair of the engineering department at East Carolina University. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Bevlee Watford served as the interim department head, and will return to her position as the associate dean for academic affairs of the college of engineering upon Adams’ arrival.

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