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New Leadership Reinforces Commitment to Ensuring Diversity and Growing Research Enterprise

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New Leadership Reinforces Commitment to Ensuring Diversity and Growing Research Enterprise

Oct. 30, 2020
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It’s all about listening, inclusion and collaboration for the college’s newest associate deans.

The University of Arizona College of Engineering established two new leadership positions in 2020. Kathie Melde, a longtime faculty member who was promoted to associate dean for faculty affairs in 2019, is now the associate dean of faculty affairs and inclusion. Mark Van Dyke, who has worked in industry, nonprofits, academia and the startup world, joined the college this summer as associate dean of research, a role previously managed by Melde.

Melde to Lead Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

Melde, who has been at the university for nearly 25 years, comes from a background as a successful researcher and professor in electrical and computer engineering. She is a fellow of IEEE and served as a teaching fellow for the college from 2012 to 2014. Melde helped lead the college’s reopening committee for fall 2020, and noted how the inclusiveness of the committee, which involved staff, students, faculty and department heads, allowed people from all backgrounds to share their concerns.

“We need to ensure that all voices in our college are being heard,” Melde said. “I see inclusion as casting a very wide net for ideas, talent and thought. This enables sound decision making.This summer, I got to see firsthand how broad inclusion yields great results.”

The college was the only program in Arizona to receive a Bronze Award in the inaugural Diversity Recognition Program, headed by the American Society for Engineering Education and its Engineering Deans Council.

“I am delighted that Dean Melde has accepted this expansion of her duties to formally include diversity,” said David W. Hahn, Craig M. Berge dean of the college. “Diversity, inclusion and equity are core values of our college. Kathie is both an advocate and thought leader.”

Mark Van Dyke to Direct Research Efforts

Van Dyke brings an extensive background in academic and industry research, including at the Dow Chemical Company, Southwest Research Institute and Wake Forest School of Medicine. Most recently, he served as an associate professor and director of the Industry Partners Program in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

“We are enthused to have Mark join our leadership team,” Hahn said. “His deep experience in industry and academia are critical as we seek to grow our research enterprise, including greater engagement with the commercial sector and the health sciences.”

Van Dyke will be focused on executing research initiatives for the college, growing research expenditures and infrastructure, strategic planning and fostering industry collaborations.

“If I could encapsulate a vision for College of Engineering research in a single thought, it would be that I want people in the college to be thought of as world leaders,” Van Dyke said. “Leadership, down to the individual faculty level, will be our constant goal and will manifest itself in the lasting impact that our faculty and staff will have on our students, colleagues and society overall.”