By Mike Porter
Azim Eskandarian, D.Sc., has been named dean and William H. Goodwin Jr. Endowed Chair of the VCU College of Engineering, effective Aug. 1. Eskandarian currently serves as department head and Nicholas and Rebecca des Champs Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.
“Azim Eskandarian has established himself as a highly accomplished and world-renowned researcher, an innovative program designer, a transformational educator and someone who excels at tackling real-world challenges throughout his career of more than 40 years. I am excited for him to bring that leadership and experience to VCU as the dean of the College of Engineering,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
“Azim’s record for increasing the research activity, faculty appointments, student success, diversity and endowments of his former departments is truly impressive. I look forward to working with him not only to accelerate the steeply growing reputation of the college but to help build those innovative transdisciplinary opportunities for faculty and students across VCU that make us more responsive to the needs of our students and our entire community in a rapidly changing world,” Sotiropoulos said.
Eskandarian’s career includes experience in academic leadership, research, scholarship and teaching, as well as industry. Serving as department head at Virginia Tech since 2015, he has worked collaboratively within the department and college to enhance innovation and degree programs, improve services, enhance diversity, increase enrollment and external funding, and advance faculty and student success.
“As one of the premier research universities in Virginia and the nation, VCU has undergone transformative changes during the past decade with visionary leadership, becoming a national destination for students and faculty thriving for excellence and discoveries more rapidly than any other peer institution,” Eskandarian said. “VCU Engineering has made significant strides as a relatively young college. It has established first-class facilities, attracted world-renowned faculty and founded top-notch research centers and institutes, collaborating across disciplines. I am excited to join this outstanding team of scholars to achieve new heights in engineering for humanity, train the next generation of uniquely skilled world-ready engineers and leaders, and extend transdisciplinary research and discovery beyond the traditional boundaries to solve real societal problems.”
Eskandarian, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, serves as an expert in the Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division of the National Science Foundation. He is a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers professional association and a member of SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers), and is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma engineering honor societies.
Eskandarian’s research focuses on robotics and autonomous and dynamical systems and is applied in areas including autonomous and intelligent vehicles, collision avoidance and driver assistance, intelligent transportation systems, and vehicle crashworthiness and occupant injury biomechanics.
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he was a professor of engineering and applied science at the George Washington University, where he was also director and founder of the Center for Intelligent Systems Research, director and co-founder of the National Crash Analysis Center, co-founder of the GWU Transportation Research Institute and director of the GWU and School of Engineering’s area of excellence in Transportation Safety and Security. He began his academic career as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, York. He had previously worked as an engineer at VSE Corporation and Phillips Cartner & Co. Inc., both in Alexandria, Virginia.
Eskandarian earned his B.S., M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in mechanical engineering from GWU, Virginia Tech and GWU, respectively.
Gary Tepper, Ph.D., will continue to serve as interim dean until Eskandarian arrives.