Riley ready to lead as dean of the School of Engineering: UNM Newsroom

Riley ready to lead as dean of the School of Engineering: UNM Newsroom

Donna Riley, a regarded leader in engineering instruction and in bringing varied views into the subject of engineering, will begin April 1 as the Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing at The College of New Mexico.

She is the 22nd — and to start with female — dean of the College of Engineering, which was launched in 1906. She also holds the rank of professor in the Division of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at UNM.

She joins UNM from Purdue College, exactly where she was the Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor in the University of Engineering Education considering the fact that 2017. She earlier was professor and interim head in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, and from 2013-2015 served as program director for engineering instruction at the National Science Basis (NSF).

Riley put in 13 several years as a founding school member of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith Faculty, the to start with engineering program at a U.S. women’s faculty. She is a fellow of the American Culture for Engineering Education and learning (ASEE) and recently was elected as vice president of scholarship for ASEE, a two-yr phrase beginning at the 2023 ASEE Convention and Expo in Baltimore in June.

Riley’s exploration focuses on the subject of engineering education and learning, especially the integration of ethics, conversation, social examination, lifelong finding out and how all those skillsets assist in the development of engineering gurus. She is the writer of two publications, Engineering and Social Justice and Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Electrical power Issues. She is the receiver of the 2016 Alfred N. Goldsmith Award from the IEEE Qualified Communications Modern society, the 2012 Sterling Olmsted Award from ASEE, and the 2010 Educator of the Year award from Out to Innovate.

When she was at Smith, she been given an NSF Vocation Award in 2005 for “Liberative Pedagogies in Engineering Education and learning.” The award is NSF’s most prestigious award in assistance of early career college who exemplify the part of teacher-students by exceptional study, exceptional training, and the integration of schooling and investigate.

For early-job college, primarily these with an eye toward advancing their investigate and tutorial administrative occupations, the NSF Career Award is a hugely sought-just after credential, and Riley of study course was intrigued in looking for the award. On the other hand, due to her original scholarly interests in transdisciplinary approaches to environmental justice, she was discouraged to master her matter fell in between two funding directorates at the Countrywide Science Basis.  

“I was told that I could never ever earn a Job Award for the reason that my investigate did not in shape into a person of the predetermined types. They instructed me not to implement. I was crushed.”

But thanks to her connections with some mentors and industry experts in the engineering schooling arena, she was inspired to pursue an award right after mastering there was a new engineering instruction class. Riley drew on impressive approaches to educating engineering that she had been discovering in Smith’s new engineering software, drawing each inspiration and encouragement from creator bell hooks, with whom she had a dialogue for the duration of 1 of hooks’s visits to Smith. Riley said hooks’s e book, Teaching to Transgress: Training as the Exercise of Flexibility, experienced a profound affect on her, and she shared some of her ideas sparked by the e-book with the author.

When she explained to hooks her views about what finally grew to become the issue of her Vocation Award — acquiring critical pedagogies for engineering classroom implementations — the trailblazing creator and tutorial gave her the validation that aided her obtain achievement. 

She reported, ‘You have to write about this.’ And so I did, and it grew to become my NSF Job Award task,” Riley said. “It was a bit of an unusual experience that led me to gain the award.”

Riley was born and lifted in Los Angeles, and it was essentially the city’s famous smog that first piqued her interest in engineering and environmental considerations. Her father was a 1st-generation university graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from what is now Missouri S&T and pursuing a profession in the oil and gas field. 

Taking his suggestions, she also pursued chemical engineering, earning a bachelor’s diploma from Princeton University. Obtaining a enthusiasm for environmental science and the strategies that engineering and coverage intersect, she earned a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon College in engineering and public plan.

Normally curious about fields outdoors engineering, Riley enjoyed having a variety of programs in social sciences and not only discovered the matter subject partaking, but also the teaching methods. She found a marked variation in the way a literature class that is focused on suggestions and concerns and dialogue was offered in comparison to a normal engineering training course, which frequently is presented in a just one-way lecture type.

“I stored pondering, ‘How do I instruct additional like they do in the social sciences?’ ” That is definitely what obtained me intrigued in the subject of engineering education and learning.”

Although being a dean is a new part for Riley, she claimed she and her female assistant professor colleagues at Smith begun getting ready early, connecting with a community of woman teachers and deans of engineering who have served as mentors as a result of the many years. 

Whilst as a woman in engineering she is utilized to remaining one particular of the only gals in a area (she was the only woman office head in the College or university of Engineering at Purdue), coming in as the very first girl dean of UNM Engineering will be a new milestone: “This will be the first time I’m a to start with.” 

1 of the matters she liked about UNM was that the university is open to modify and new concepts, and that is no distinctive in the historically male subject of engineering.                                                                                                                                                

“Many of the university’s leaders are woman — including some who are engineers — so I assume UNM is ready for it,” she reported. “It’s seriously interesting.” 

Riley and her partner are seeking ahead to having fun with some things she could not working experience in the Midwest: New Mexican culture and finding out about xeriscaping. She also enjoys mountaineering, functioning, artwork, food stuff (“both cooking and eating”) and crafting, primarily knitting. 

As dean, she is ready to strike the ground managing the upcoming few weeks with a listening tour to assemble facts about the University of Engineering’s successes, prospects, troubles and more. She will then synthesize that suggestions into a detailed strategy that will guideline her priorities for the Faculty.

She will be great-tuning her priorities in excess of the coming months, but two locations she wants to aim on are developing and rising partnerships for investigation, financial enhancement, and education, and inclusive excellence, like how we can individual the simple fact that we are each a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an R1 institution the place impactful study is important.

UNM’s 2040 objectives will be front and heart as nicely.

“UNM 2040 was 1 of factors that enthusiastic me about UNM,” she reported. “There is a clarity of function and eyesight, with a target on how to use discovery, understanding, and engagement to increase lives although also leveraging inclusive excellence.”

Even though she expects some new focuses, she claimed the vision of the School of Engineering will probable have a ton of acquainted elements to it.

“I think in not fixing what isn’t damaged,” she explained. “I glance forward to the problem of bringing together different perspectives of a variety of teams, each inside and external, to transfer us ahead towards a frequent purpose.”

A ongoing emphasis on creating UNM and the Faculty of Engineering as a chief will undoubtedly be a priority for Riley.

“We have to remind ourselves why we are right here. We are right here for the students, and for the people of New Mexico, to boost lives and even further financial progress,” she said. “We have got to have a superior-prepared workforce. This has to be a collaborative effort, and with UNM as the state’s flagship institution, it is our position to take the guide.”

Media contact: Kim Delker, Marketing Supervisor, UNM University of Engineering, (765) 427-0300, [email protected]