New dean of engineering looks to uphold the college’s structure, quality
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 01:01
Sandra Woods, an Oregon State University faculty member from 1984 to 2001 is back at OSU as dean of the College of Engineering.
Woods comes to OSU from Colorado State University, where she served as dean of the College of Engineering, head of the department of civil and environmental engineering, and interim vice provost. She has a background in environmental engineering, with a focus on the fate of contaminants in the environment.
“I’m thrilled. Very happy to be back here,” Woods said. She started her current position as dean on July 30.
The position opened up in November 2011, when Ron Adams, who had been dean of the College of Engineering since 1998, left to become OSU’s executive associate vice president for research.
Scott Ashford, currently head of OSU’s school of civil and construction engineering, served as interim dean during the 2011-2012 school year. A national search culminated in the selection of Woods, who is now the full-time, permanent dean.
“Dean Woods brings a wealth of experience and demonstrated success to OSU,” said Sabah Randhawa, provost and executive vice president, who made the final decision to hire Woods. “I believe she will help advance engineering and computer science — more broadly STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math], education that is critical to economic growth in Oregon.” Randhawa said.
Woods sees the rapid growth of enrollment in engineering as her greatest challenge as dean.
“I’ve got to do the best job possible with rapid growth in enrollment.” Woods said. “We’ve got to remodel, and develop facilities and hire new faculty members.”
She sees her role as helping faculty and staff develop and deliver programs for students.
“It is my hope that we’ll be able to add faculty so we improve the quality of our academic programs and serve the many students who hope to major in the college of engineering,” Woods said.
While Woods is new as dean, she doesn’t foresee any radical changes in the lives of the students and staff of the college of engineering.
“Ron [Adams] was a great dean. Some things will be different. I hope we’ll be able to add new faculty at an even greater rate,” Woods said. “There may be differences in our approach as to how we allocate resources and identify faculty lines.”
The structure of the engineering college isn’t expected to change much either.
“If you have the right people in leadership positions, structure becomes less important.” Woods said.
Dean Woods doesn’t plan on doing any teaching in her new position.
“I spend a lot of time traveling, so I won’t be teaching,” Woods said. “I’ve taught many classes at OSU and Colorado State. It’s since I’ve been dean that I haven’t taught.”
Adams now serves as executive associate vice president for research.
“I left my post as dean of engineering to help the university achieve one of its top goals: increased societal impact of the university’s world class assets through engagement with industry and commercialization of research results,” Adams said.
Prior to her first stint at OSU, Woods received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan State University, and a master’s and doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Washington. She worked her way through her education by working at several different consulting firms.
“When working my way through my undergraduate degree, I was a construction inspector and survey crew chief,” Woods said.
As a graduate student, Woods worked as an environmental engineer at a Seattle consulting firm.
“I worked on projects related to wastewater treatment and environmental restoration.”
Adams also had a positive outlook for Woods’ tenure.
“OSU engineering has made great progress and [Woods] will help continue that momentum.”
Vinay Ramakrishnan, news reporter