By Keith Pierce

Following an extensive national search, Old Dominion University announced on Oct. 9 that Ben Stuart has been named the eighth dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

Stuart, who has served as interim dean since June of 2019, will start his new appointment on Oct. 25. Under his leadership, while facing the challenges of the pandemic and the mourning the loss of two faculty colleagues, the College has continued to build its research enterprise and revamped its academic programs to better serve the needs of students. The College also celebrated the appointment of five faculty as Fellows in their respective professional societies, and for the first time in the history of the College, the promotion of two women to the rank of professor.

"Ben Stuart is a thoughtful leader and distinguished scholar who cares deeply about engineering students," President John R. Broderick said. "Under his leadership, I am confident that the College of Engineering and Technology will continue to experience tremendous growth in stature regionally as well as globally."

Stuart has led or co-led more than $26 million worth of research projects funded by federal, state and industrial partners. His research in algal biofuels has led to three patents as well as his participation as chief technology officer in ECO2Capture, a start-up company that develops and integrates technologies in algae cultivation and air pollution control markets. He is also the author or co-author of 50 peer-reviewed publications.

"Dr. Stuart has articulated a vision for the College that emphasizes faculty research and a focus on advancing student success, in particular for underrepresented student populations," said Austin Agho, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "We are grateful for his continued leadership and selfless service. His longstanding academic career as both a scholar and an administrator will serve Old Dominion and the College well."

Stuart is a past president of the Institute of Biological Engineering, is the current past president for the Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and serves as a commissioner for the Engineering Technology Commission of ABET, (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), the accreditation organization for engineering and engineering technology programs worldwide.

In his role as dean, Stuart will oversee instruction and research in the College's six departments as well as its innovative research centers, including the Applied Research Center, Coastal Engineering Institute, Transportation Research Institute, Sustainable Development Institute, Biomass Research Lab and the ODU Vision Lab.

"I am extremely proud and humbled to work with such talented and dedicated staff and faculty," Stuart said. "I am optimistic about the future of this College and its ability to build upon a legacy of leading technological change and innovative development that help students face and solve society's greatest challenges. The College of Engineering and Technology must and will meet students where they are and take them where they need to go while positioning the University to meet the technical education and research needs of not only Hampton Roads, but well beyond."

Stuart received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and he is a registered professional environmental engineer in Ohio.

"I offer my thanks to Gail Dodge, dean of the College of Sciences, who chaired the search committee and brought the search to a successful conclusion, along with Judy Bowman, who staffed the committee," Agho said. "I also extend warm gratitude to the search committee members for the energy and time they put into the process and for attracting a strong pool of candidates."

The search committee consisted of industry representatives Johnny Garcia and Charles Southall, faculty and staff representatives Gymama Slaughter, Hongyi Wu, Masha Sosonkina, Robert Ash, Orlando Ayala, Carol Considine, Sherif Ishak, Stacie Ringleb, Charles Daniels, Nina Gonser, Sachin Shetty, student representative Megan Witherow and representatives from AGB Search Alan Crist and Nancy Targett.

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