This August will mark the beginning of new leadership not only in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Engineering but also the Department of Electrical Engineering (EE). May 11, Provost Thomas Burish’s office announced, “…after serving for more than a decade as dean of the College of Engineering, Peter Kilpatrick will move to the Illinois Institute of Technology as its new provost…effective August 1, 2018.” After a brief search, on May 25, Burish announced, “It is with gratitude and enthusiasm that I write to inform you that Thomas E. Fuja, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, has agreed to serve as interim dean of the College of Engineering effective August 1, 2018.”
Fuja has served as EE chair since 2006. “When I came to the University of Notre Dame from Maryland in 1998, I was struck by the collegiality of the department. We all get along and collaboratively work well together toward our common goal of making EE at Notre Dame better both educationally and in terms of its research. It has been my pleasure to serve as EE chair for the last 12 years, and I look forward to being part of the department for a long time,” said Fuja.
Professor J. Nicholas Laneman is one of several EE faculty looking back fondly and looking forward with support and optimism. “My career and my time at Notre Dame have benefited tremendously from Tom Fuja’s leadership as a senior colleague in my technical area, as director of Graduate Studies, and as a chair of EE. I have complete faith that the same will be true for all College of Engineering faculty as Tom takes on the role of interim dean,” said Laneman.
Shortly after Burish announced Fuja’s appointment as interim dean, Fuja informed his colleagues that he didn’t plan to resume his role as EE chair when his time in the dean’s office was complete. On June 15, Fuja announced, “Professor Greg Snider has agreed to serve as interim chair of EE, he is eminently qualified for this role. I am grateful that Greg is willing to take on yet another big service role.” Snider will serve until the next permanent dean is named and given the opportunity to name a permanent chair. “We have a culture of stepping up in EE. I am pleased and proud of the reactions I received to my unexpected move down the hall. I have no doubt that this is going to be a great year for EE,” said Fuja.
Snider brings to the role a wealth of administrative experience, having served as director of graduate studies for ten years and as director of the Notre Dame Nanofabrication Facility for five. He is a highly regarded researcher in electronic materials and devices and was recently elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Snider is an inspiring teacher and mentor, having won both the EE Department Award (twice) and a Kaneb Teaching Award in addition to the University Director of Graduate Studies Award in 2014. “I’m honored Tom has asked me to take on this role, he leaves big shoes to fill but I’ll do everything I can to move the department forward. I’m fortunate to work with an innovative and collaborative department,” said Snider.
As Dean Kilpatrick prepares to move on, he expresses his trust in Fuja’s leadership qualities and ability to keep the college progressing in a positive direction. “While Tom has served as EE chairperson, the department has flourished in all aspects of its academic and research programs, including some important curricular innovations, all of which Tom has been at the center. I have great confidence that he will serve the College of Engineering well as its interim dean,” said Kilpatrick.
Fuja now looks on to his heightened responsibilities, “It’s really an honor to be given the opportunity to serve the college this way. Notre Dame has been a wonderful place to work for the last 20 years, and I look forward to seeing it from a new perspective. There’s been a tremendous amount of growth in the College of Engineering over the last ten years — in enrollment, faculty size, research expenditures, everything. It’s my goal to keep that momentum moving forward over the next year and make it easy for the next Dean of Engineering to take over without a hitch.”