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Rediff.com  » News » US: Dr Devdas Shetty is new Lawrence Tech dean

US: Dr Devdas Shetty is new Lawrence Tech dean

April 10, 2008 17:59 IST

Dr Devdas Shetty is the new dean of the College of Engineering at Lawrence Technological University, Michigan. Dr Shetty, who was with the University of Hartford in Connecticut for 20 years, replaced Dr Laird Johnston, a former General Motors and EDS executive, who has retired.

Lawrence Tech's College of Engineering is one of the largest engineering programs in Michigan and a key supplier of talent to the transportation industry, according to Lewis N Walker, Lawrence Tech president. The college enrols some 1,100 undergraduates and 400 graduate students in four departments - civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering technology. Some 20 different degrees are offered through the doctoral level.

"The global marketplace is providing new opportunities for Michigan's businesses, and we expect Dr Shetty to play a major role in positioning our engineering programs to help our state, its citizens, and industries lead in emerging areas of technology, engineering and the life sciences," Walker said. "There is a steady demand for good engineers. Engineering is a growth profession, and keeping our state and nation competitive in the world economy is a primary mission of our university," he added.

"I see a close match between my own outlook of engineering and the university's vision of engineering education that gives students theoretical tools and hands-on experiences in an atmosphere of entrepreneurial leadership and improved learning," Dr Shetty said.

At the University of Hartford, Dr Shetty was the dean of research, director of the Engineering Applications Center, and the Vernon D Rosa endowed professor in manufacturing engineering. He was known there for innovating partnerships between the university and industry. He was attracted to Lawrence Tech because he felt he could make a difference to a university 'focused on the future'.

"Within Lawrence Tech, the College of Engineering is the leading school that can make a major impact on the whole institution. I have found Lawrence Tech to be an agile place which prepares the graduates to succeed in the workforce by giving them a highly effective balance of theory and application," Dr Shetty said.

He said his goal is to see the College of Engineering become a leader in engineering education. "I want to work on providing real-life challenges for students by forming industry partnerships and applied research at the undergraduate level. I will work collaboratively with the Colleges of Arts and Science, Architecture and Management, and promote interdisciplinary engineering programs and applied research projects in an atmosphere of entrepreneurial spirit and global perspective," he said.

"We want our engineers to take up innovative programs and grow to be outstanding professionals characterized by integrity, social responsibility, and leadership," he added.

He joined the University of Hartford in 1988, and before that was an associate professor at the Albert Nerkin School of  Engineering at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York City, associate professor at the University of the West Indies and served as a scientist at the Central Manufacturing Research Institute in India.

A registered professional engineer, he received his PhD in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, after finishing bachelor's and master's degrees at the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, Karnataka. He has published more than 150 articles based on his research and educational projects.

He has been a principal investigator for some 30 grants in engineering education and research. Working with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, he developed a multidisciplinary research and academic program for laser applications that was funded by the Unites States Air Force. The integrated engineering curriculum developed at University of Hartford under Dr Shetty's leadership, with support from the National Science Foundation, has been adopted by other engineering schools, too.

Dr Shetty holds five patents. His research has been cited for pioneering contributions in manufacturing engineering and other areas of engineering and product design. He has authored two textbooks that are used worldwide and have been translated into several languages.

Honors he has won include the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' Edward S Roth National Award and also its Honor Award, Hartford's James and Frances Bent Award for Creativity, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Faculty Award. He is an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

A Correspondent in New York