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Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering announces transition in Academic Affairs leadership

PITTSBURGH (November 10, 2016) … Over the next year, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will transition the leadership in its Office of Academic Affairs. Mary Besterfield-Sacre, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor and Professor of Industrial Engineering, has been appointed Associate Dean for Academic Affairs beginning January 1, 2017, while Larry Shuman, Distinguished Service Professor of Industrial Engineering, will remain Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs through his retirement in the Spring 2018 term.

Dr. Besterfield-Sacre will assume full responsibility for the Swanson School of Engineering’s Academic Affairs beginning on January 1, 2018. These include the first-year (or freshman) program, transfers, scholarships, EXCEL and Investing Now, and the international, co-op and innovation and entrepreneurship programs, in addition to ABET and new academic program development.  She will continue to direct the Engineering Education Research Center.

“Mary and Larry have worked hand-in-hand over the past few years to transform our undergraduate engineering curriculum, and I am very pleased that one will be passing the torch to another,” noted Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “Larry is internationally recognized not only within the industrial engineering discipline, but also for his impact on engineering education. Likewise, Mary’s own research has helped to transform how our faculty teach, and how our students engage with one another in the classroom. I thank them both for their contributions to the University and the Swanson School.”

In addition to her academic role, Dr. Besterfield-Sacre is founding director for the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) in the Swanson School of Engineering, and serves as a Center Associate for the Learning Research and Development Center. Her principal research is in engineering education assessment, which has been funded by the NSF, Department of Education, Sloan Foundation, Engineering Information Foundation, and NCIIA. Dr. Besterfield-Sacre’s current research focuses on three distinct but highly correlated areas: innovative design and entrepreneurship, engineering modeling, and global competency in engineering.

Dr. Besterfield-Sacre has published extensively in the engineering education literature, has served as an associate editor for the JEE; and is currently associate editor for the AEE Journal, and Fellow in the American Society for Engineering Education. She holds the B.S. in Engineering Management from Missouri Institute for Science and Technology, the M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, and the PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.  Before returning to Pitt, she was an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Texas El Paso.

Throughout his career at Pitt, Dr. Shuman’s research has focused on health systems planning, engineering ethics and most recently on improving the engineering educational experience. Within the Swanson School he has led the development of the cooperative engineering education and study abroad programs. This latter initiative has included the “Plus3” integrated field trip abroad for rising engineering and business sophomores, which received the 2005 Heiskell Award from the Institute for International Education for “Innovations in Study Abroad,” the INNOVATE program (initially with Rice University), and a very active research and educational program for undergraduates in Brazil jointly funded by the U.S. and Brazil Departments of Education (FIPSE-CAPES).  He served as the Spring 2002 Academic Dean for the Semester at Sea Program. 

Under Dr. Shuman’s leadership, 45 percent of Swanson School of Engineering seniors graduate with at least some form of international education experience. With Dr. Besterfield-Sacre he is currently leading a Swanson School effort to introduce innovation and entrepreneurship across the undergraduate programs. 

A former senior editor of the Journal of Engineering Education, Dr. Shuman is the founding editor of ASEE’s Advances in Engineering Education. He has published widely in the engineering education literature, and is co-author of Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule and Risk - Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle (Cambridge University Press).  He is an ASEE Fellow and currently serves as the Chair of the Global Engineering Education Exchange.  Dr. Shuman received his PhD from The Johns Hopkins University in Operations Research and the BSEE from the University of Cincinnati.


Contact: Paul Kovach