The Texas Tech University Whitacre College of Engineering has added two National Academy members to its faculty.
Fazle Hussain will serve as the President?s Distinguished Engineering Chair, and Chau-Chyun Chen will be the Jack Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair in Sustainable Energy.
Election to the National Academy is considered one of the highest professional honors among engineers, according to a Tech news release. Hussain was elected in 2001 for fundamental experiments and concepts concerning important structures in turbulence, vortex dynamics and acoustics, and for new turbulence measuring techniques. Chen was elected in 2005 for his contributions to molecular thermodynamics and process modeling technology for designing industrial processes with complex chemical systems.
?Their individual research interests will help us address diverse challenges such as how to better utilize a scarce resource like water, and working with our health care community to look at ways to better understand the fundamental mechanisms behind strokes,? said Al Sacco, dean of the College of Engineering, in a statement.
Lawrence Schovanec, interim university president, said the National Academy members were hired in the fall.
Fazle, who will serve as a professor in the department of mechanical engineering, is on campus now. Chen will move to Lubbock this summer and will be a faculty member in the department of chemical engineering.
Both were approved for tenure by the Tech University System Board of Regents in December.
Chen and Hussain are the second and third National Academy members on Tech?s faculty. Kishor Mehta, the former director of the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, also is a member.
Schovanec said Tech will add ?a lot of faculty? this year. He declined to estimate a count, but said it could be double the amount hired in the past.
The interim president has talked with chairs and deans who say they have never seen better pools of candidates. And that?s one reason they?re making hires, Schovanec said.
Chen?s hire was made possible through the Maddox family?s support of, he added.
The hire of National Academy members improves the reputation of the university, Schovanec said. It?s a good recruiting tool for faculty members, and boosts the institution?s rankings.
The Center for Measuring University Performance ranks all the institutions based on the number of National Academy members, Schovanec explained.
?(According to the most recent data), adding these two National Academy members will move us from 98th in the nation, among public institutions, to 47th,? he said. ?There are relatively small numbers of National Academy members at most institutions ? some may have none ? so we?ll show up in a pretty elite group of institutions.?
Schovanec said the two hires will create a great impact on the university and its research programs.
Chen will have additional resources to support research, graduate students, equipment and activities related to scholarship and research. He will be able to hire supporting faculty and attract students.
?You build research programs around these types of hires,? Schovanec said. ?... These type of hires act as a catalyst for enhanced research activity.?
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