Lawrence Larson, chair of the University of California at San Diego's electrical and computer engineering department, will take the reigns from Interim Dean of Engineering Rod Clifton as the inaugural dean of the engineering school next year.
"In some ways, we've come to the end of the beginning," Clifton said after Thursday's announcement. "Now is when the real development work for the school begins."
Clifton was appointed interim dean of the engineering school following its conversion last year from the Division of Engineering.
"I can't wait to hit the ground running," Larson said. Originally from Washington, D.C., he said received the offer to move back East from Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 a few weeks ago. When he takes office in July, he will work with faculty to hire more professors, expand course offerings, work with other divisions and set plans for new facilities.
A high priority will be expanding the school into new areas including bioengineering, engineering involving health care and energy and sustainability. Larson said he hopes expand Brown's entrepreneurial studies program and offer more courses at the intersection of engineering with computer networks and communications devices.
Clifton, the outgoing interim dean, said a major task for Larson will be assisting the Development Office to raise funds to support additional faculty and a new building housing more offices and research laboratories.
He added he expects the whole University to benefit from growth in the engineering school. As faculty and facilities increase, Clifton said he anticipates more research opportunities for undergraduates as well as more first-year seminars and courses for non-concentrators offered through the school. But increasing the faculty as the engineering school grows will be no small task, Larson said. "We have to hire people who really fit in with the culture here, but at the same time, are brilliant scholars in their fields," he said.
"Professor Larson has a strong record of achievement as an engineer in the private sector and as a researcher and administrator in the academy," President Ruth Simmons said in a press release announcing the appointment. "He will be a skillful and committed leader as our new School of Engineering grows, develops and realizes its full potential."
Larson's research has focused on semiconductors used in wireless devices and microelectronics, the study of small wireless devices like cell phones.