Daily Iowan: UI Names Interim Engineering Dean

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BY ALAN TOUSSAINT, Daily Iowan

In his 10 years at the University of Iowa, Alec Scranton been a researcher, professor, director of a research center, and an associate dean in the College of Engineering.

And now he will take on yet another role.

Outgoing UI Provost Wallace Loh appointed Scranton to be the interim dean of the engineering school, effective Oct. 1.

Incoming interim Provost P. Barry Butler, the former engineering dean, said Loh made the right decision in choosing Scranton.

"He's outstanding," Butler said. "He's been a strong leader as a department head and as associate dean."

Butler also said he is very supportive of what Scranton has done in his position as associate dean.

No projects will be placed on hold during the interim period, Butler said. And the college's five faculty searches will be completed "under Scranton's watch."

Scranton is a UI engineering alum, and he has served as associate dean since 2003. He has also led the college's academic side through developing numerous ideas. One of those initiatives was the completion of the critical Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology review, just a couple of years ago, as well as community involvement in K-12 outreach and engagement, according to a UI release.

Additionally, Scranton is a researcher at the UI Optical Science and Technology Center and is a UI Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

In a past e-mail to engineering faculty, staff, and students, Butler wrote, "The College of Engineering is in an excellent position to continue its leadership role among UI colleges over the next few months."

Scranton wasn't available for an interview on Monday.

And the role of dean isn't to be taken lightly, some professors said.

"He's in a position of making an impact on the college," said Pavlo Krokhmal, an assistant professor of engineering.

Other professors said they're confident in Scranton's ability to lead.

Steve Collins, a professor of electric-computer engineering, said Scranton is a good and obvious choice for the job.

"He knows the college and knows how to operate it," Collins said.

Scranton was very active with governing the engineering faculty, Collins said.

Loh, who served as provost for two years, has accepted the presidency at the University of Maryland.

Both Butler and Scranton will start their new positions Oct. 1.