LAWRENCE — The dean of engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio is the first of three candidates who will take part in on-campus interviews for dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas.
JoAnn Browning, dean of engineering and David and Jennifer Spencer Distinguished Chair at UTSA, will make a public presentation from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9, in 164 Ritchie Hall. Members of the KU community are invited to attend the presentation and provide feedback of their impressions to the search committee, led by Ken Audus, dean of the KU School of Pharmacy.
Browning is a leader in structural engineering and concrete research. Her own research interests include structural engineering, earthquake engineering, engineering materials, and reinforced concrete design and analysis. She is actively involved in research to improve the durability of concrete bridge decks through studies of corrosion protection systems and low-cracking, high-performance bridge decks. She also is active in research to improve the design and performance of concrete buildings and bridges subjected to earthquake motion.
Browning was named dean and distinguished chair of the UTSA College of Engineering in August 2014. In the years since, the college has seen a 40 percent increase in research and development expenditures. The college has also increased doctoral student enrollment by 20 percent and increased the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by 50 percent. Since fall 2017, the college launched both a bachelor’s degree program in chemical engineering and a doctoral program in civil engineering. For five years in a row, the college has been ranked among the top 10 best graduate schools for Hispanics. The College of Engineering also hosts two entrepreneurial-focused competitions for students each year, including a $100,000 pitch competition, through the Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
Before joining UTSA, Browning was a faculty member in the Department of Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering at KU, beginning her tenure in 1998. In 2012 she was named associate dean of administration for the School of Engineering. While at KU, Browning received the Miller Award for Distinguished Professional Service twice and also received the Henry E. Gould Award for Distinguished Service to Undergraduate Education.
Browning earned a doctorate in civil engineering from Purdue University. She earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky. She is a licensed professional engineer in Kansas. Browning has been active in the engineering community, locally as president of the Kansas Chapter of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and nationally with ACI, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers. She has served on the Board of Directors of CUREE and ACI (beginning in 2015) and on the ACI 318 Building Code Committee. She received the American Concrete Institute’s Young Member Award for Professional Achievement in 2008 and was named an ACI Fellow in 2009. In 2015, she was named a Purdue Distinguished Woman Scholar.
Candidates have been asked to present their ideas on factors they consider critical to the future success of the School of Engineering and how they, as dean, would leverage strengths and remove impediments to increase the school’s impact.
The university will release information about each candidate about two business days before the candidate’s visit. The schedule of other candidate presentations:
- Candidate 2, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Nov. 15, Spahr Engineering Classroom, Eaton Hall, Room 2
- Candidate 3, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Nov. 30, 164 Ritchie Hall
The presentations will be recorded and available for viewing online after the final candidate has appeared on campus. Members of the campus community will have until Dec. 4 to provide their impressions and observations of each candidate online.
The dean of the School of Engineering oversees KU’s second largest academic unit on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, with more than 3,000 students. The school has dramatically expanded its facilities since 2012, adding five new buildings and 325,000 square feet of world-class research labs, state-of-the-art classrooms and enhanced collaboration spaces. In the past six years, the school has seen a 29 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded and 15 percent increase in graduate degrees awarded.