STONY BROOK, N.Y., September 4, 2007—Eric W. Kaler, Dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering, has been appointed Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University. The announcement was made today by Stony Brook President Shirley Strum Kenny.
Kaler, a chemical engineer whose research has been cited over 6,000 times and earned numerous national awards, will become Stony Brook’s ninth Provost in October.
|Eric W. Kaler, newly appointed Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University.|
“Eric Kaler is just the right person at just the right time to lead the development and expansion of our academic programs in the 21st Century,” said Shirley Strum Kenny, President of Stony Brook University. “As a scholar, scientist and administrator, Eric is extremely well-prepared to take on this important role at a world class university.”
Kaler, who received his undergraduate degree from California Institute of Technology in 1978, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1982, succeeds Robert L. McGrath, who stepped down as Provost this year to focus on his role as Vice President for Brookhaven Affairs. McGrath had been Provost since 2000.
As the chief academic officer, the Provost is responsible for supervising the development of academic programs and curricula, promoting faculty quality, and overseeing all academic units.
“I am extraordinarily excited to take on this challenging position,” Kaler said. “Stony Brook has in a very short time emerged as one of the country's leading research universities, and I look forward to helping that growth continue and accelerate. There are remarkable opportunities that include new undergraduate initiatives, connections to economic growth, and work with Brookhaven National Laboratory, among others. I think the combination of opportunities here is a great match with my interests and background, and I also am very pleased to have the chance to work with Shirley Kenny. I am eager to get to work.”
At Delaware, Kaler led an engineering school that has consistently ranked among the best in the nation since he was named Dean in 2000. The College has 100 faculty members, 80 staff, 1,200 undergraduate students, and 500 graduate students. During his time as Dean, the number of female faculty increased from four to 15, making it now one of most gender diverse engineering research colleges in the country. During his term, the College of Engineering also grew from 900 to 1,200 undergraduate students, and research funding nearly doubled to almost $50 million annually. He also raised substantial private funds for facilities, equipment, and endowed positions in the College.
Kaler chaired the committee at Delaware that was charged with renovating the Chemical Engineering Department’s building, and became chair of the department, which has perennially been ranked in the top ten in the U.S, in 1996.
“My leadership style has always to been to help get people the resources they need and then to let them work,” Kaler said. “At the same time, I think all administrators should focus on making sure processes are as simple, straightforward, and transparent as they can be. I look forward to working with the department chairs, deans, and other leaders to provide the best platform we can for faculty and student success at Stony Brook.”
Kaler has an active research program in the areas of thermodynamics, microstructure and materials synthesis properties of complex fluids, including protein solutions. In 1984, he was one of the first to receive a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. He also received the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society of Engineering Education in 1995, the American Chemical Society Award in Colloid or Surface Chemistry in 1998, and distinguished lectureship awards around the world. He is the author or co-author of one edited book, over 200 papers, and holds 10 U.S. patents.
Kaler also holds the title of Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering at Delaware. Prior to joining the Delaware faculty in 1989, he was a professor at the University of Washington from 1982 to 1989.
Kaler’s selection as Provost was made after a national search conducted over four months. “The quality of the candidates was very high,” said Robert P. Crease, Chairman of the Stony Brook Philosophy Department, who chaired the Provost Search Committee. “They were eager to apply for the position because of Stony Brook's international reputation and the potential they saw in our growing resources. Each had their own vision of how we can continue the University’s upward trajectory. Dr. Kaler particularly impressed the members of the Committee with his collegial manner, his knowledge of Stony Brook, and his sense of leadership. I know I can speak for all the members of the Committee and say that we are thrilled with his appointment.”
Dr. David Roselle, who retired in July as President at the University of Delaware, called Kaler an “accomplished scholar and administrator,” and said that his legacy at Delaware “is the assistance and guidance he provided to many of his engineering colleagues so that they could succeed.” Roselle added that Kaler’s “new colleagues at Stony Brook have every reason to be optimistic about his appointment as Provost.”
Dr. Eduardo Glandt, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, who has known Dr. Kaler for more than twenty years, said that he is a “natural” for this position. “Eric has been a beloved colleague; he is widely regarded as a deep scholar and successful academic leader,” Glandt said.
“Eric and I have worked closely together for nearly 20 years,” said Mark Barteau of the University of Delaware, who served as a Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department under Kaler. “He has led throughout that time by keeping the focus firmly on whatever we were trying to accomplish, and fostering a strong sense of teamwork among those working with him. Serving as department chair under him was a real pleasure—he wasn’t a superior or an adversary, but a colleague in trying to advance the college and the university.”
“Eric Kaler is an outstanding academic leader and an accomplished and experienced administrator,” said Daniel Rich, Provost of the University of Delaware. “He has all the professional and personal qualities one looks for in a provost. He has an insatiable intellectual curiosity, exceptional problem-solving skills, and the analytical ability to engage the full range of complex university issues. He also possesses great interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with the diverse constituencies of the University.”
“Eric Kaler combines outstanding achievement in research, dedication to education and excellent leadership skills,” said John Anderson, President of Illinois Institute of Technology. “He leads by example and sets the bar high for himself and others, while being the type of colleague that everyone desires.”
About Stony Brook University
In only 50 years, Stony Brook has established itself as one of America’s most dynamic public universities, an essential part of the region’s economy, and a center of cultural excellence. Nobel laureates, Guggenheim fellows, and MacArthur grant winners teach on the campus, making it a magnet for outstanding students. Stony Brook is ranked in the top 2 percent of all universities worldwide by the 2006 London Times Higher Education Supplement. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 100 best national universities and among the 50 best public universities. A member of the elite Association of American Universities, Stony Brook is among the 62 best research institutions in North America. Stony Brook faculty and researchers are leaders in significant national and worldwide projects, including the establishment of a research facility in Turkana Basin in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, the management of the national parks of Madagascar, and the uncovering the causes of lobster mortality in Long Island Sound.