College of Engineering Dean Candidates: Open Forums

The four candidates below will participate in on-campus interviews for the Dean of the College of Engineering position.  Please note the times, dates, and location of the open forums as your participation is encouraged. Further information on each candidate along with the feedback survey may be found online at

Michael Kessler - Washington State University

Campus interview dates: November 14-15, 2016


Open Forum: November 14, 2016, 2:00 p.m.-3:00 pm, 1225 Patrick F. Taylor Hall

Michael Kessler is a Professor and Director of the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (MME) at Washington State University (WSU). As the chief academic and administrative officer for the school, he is responsible for teaching, research, and outreach in the mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering programs.  The School of MME has over 60 faculty and staff, and about 1,200 students. In addition to his responsibilities as school director and professor of MME, he is the founding co-director of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry and University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) co-located at Washington State University and Iowa State University that focuses on developing high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks and sponsored by about 30 member companies and the NSF.  Prior to joining the faculty at Washington State University in 2013, he held faculty positions at Iowa State University, where he was most recently the Wilkinson Professor in Interdisciplinary Engineering, and the University of Tulsa. He received his Ph.D. from the Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois.  An expert in the processing and characterization of polymers and polymer matrix composites, Dr. Kessler has led an active research group with external funding of over eleven million dollars—including funding from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, and NASA.  He has over 160 journal papers and 7000 citations, holds nearly 20 patents and provisional patents, edited 13 books, and presented over 200 talks at national and international meetings.  He is an elected Fellow of NATAS and ASME, and the past division chair of the Materials Division of ASEE. 


Judy Wornat - Louisiana State University

Campus interview dates: November 17-18, 2016


Open Forum: November 17, 2016, 2:00 p.m.-3:00 pm, 1225 Patrick F. Taylor Hall 

Mary Julia (Judy) Wornat graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981, then pursued her graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she performed research in the general area of fuels and combustion and earned her Master of Science (S.M.) and Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degrees in Chemical Engineering in 1983 and 1988, respectively.  At the completion of her formal education, Dr. Wornat held various positions, including working two years as a research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Division of Coal and Energy Technology, in Sydney, Australia, and two years as a senior member of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, Combustion Research Facility, in Livermore, California.  In 1994, Dr. Wornat joined the faculty of Princeton University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, where she served eight and a half years before coming back to her home state of Louisiana in 2002 to join the faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Louisiana State University.  Through the course of her academic career, Dr. Wornat has authored or co-authored 75 refereed journal articles, secured over $4.25 million in research funding, served on the editorial boards of three international journals, and participated widely in a variety of professional organizations.  From 2007 to 2009, she served as President of the International Society for Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds.  She received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1996, a Distinguished Paper Award from the Combustion Institute in 2009, and an LSU Rainmaker Award in 2009.  At LSU, Dr. Wornat has participated in a variety of committees and initiatives within the Department of Chemical Engineering and College of Engineering as well as on the University level.  She served as the LSU Department of Chemical Engineering’s Director of Graduate Studies, from 2005 to 2011, and as the Department Chair, from 2011 to 2015.  Since July, 2015, Dr. Wornat has served LSU as the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering. 


Christine Grant – North Carolina State University

Campus interview dates: November 28-29, 2016


Open Forum: November 28, 2016, 2:00 p.m.-3:00 pm, 1225 Patrick F. Taylor Hall

Dr. Christine Grant currently serves as the Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University; she is also a Full Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering(CBE).  She obtained her degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.S., Brown University; M.S. and Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology) prior to joining NC State. As Associate Dean, she is responsible for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure at the college level, in addition to faculty policy management with the Provost’s office.  She provides leadership in the development of faculty at all ranks in the college through new faculty initiatives, strategic visits to funding agencies and faculty mentoring.   Grant's work in the arena of STEM policy resulted in her appointments as a Visiting Senior Scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an Expert in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Engineering Directorate, and a Boeing Senior Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE).  Her research has focused on interfacial phenomena and more recently biomedical systems.  A recipient of the AAAS Mentor Award and the NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM),  Grant has been recognized for broadening the participation, promotion and retention of underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM. She’s received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Minority Affairs Committee Pioneers of Diversity Award, Council for Chemical Research Diversity Award, the American Chemical Society’s SERMACS Diversity Award, and the NCA&T Urban Education Institute NCA&T Exemplar Award. She’s also provided professional leadership as a member of the Board of  Directors, as Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee, and Chemical Technology Operating Council of AIChE; she was elected to AIChE Fellow in 2013. 

Gilda Barabino - The City University of New York

Campus interview dates: December 5-6, 2016


Open Forum: December 5, 2016, 2:00 p.m.-3:00 pm, 1225 Patrick F. Taylor Hall

Gilda A. Barabino is Berg Professor and Dean of The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY). She holds appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and the CUNY School of Medicine. Prior to joining CCNY, she served as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. At Georgia Tech she also served as the inaugural Vice Provost for Academic Diversity. Prior to her appointments at Georgia Tech and Emory, she rose to the rank of Full Professor of Chemical Engineering and served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Northeastern University.  She is a noted investigator in the areas of sickle cell disease, cellular and tissue engineering, and race/ethnicity and gender in science and engineering. Dr. Barabino received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Xavier University of Louisiana in 2016. She is the President of AIMBE and a Past-President of BMES. Dr. Barabino is a member of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advisory Committee for Engineering and has served on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council. Dr. Barabino consults nationally and internationally on STEM education and research, diversity in higher education, policy, workforce development and faculty development. She directs the NSF Minority Faculty Development Workshop and is the founder and Executive Director of the National Institute for Faculty Equity.  More information about Dr. Barabino may be found in her curriculum vitae.