James R. Martin Named U.S. Steel Dean of the Swanson School of Engineering

March 21, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

Together with Chancellor Gallagher, I am pleased to announce that Dr. James R. Martin has accepted my offer to become the U.S. Steel Dean of the Swanson School of Engineering beginning August 15, 2018. Dr. Martin succeeds Gerald D. Holder, who served as Dean for 22 years.

Dr. Martin is currently the Bob Benmosche Endowed Professor and Chair of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. He will bring to the Swanson School the innovation-driven leadership style that he has honed during his years of academic leadership, and I am confident in his ability to guide the School as it develops a dynamic and inclusive vision for the next chapter of its history.

As department chair at Clemson, Dr. Martin led college-wide strategic planning efforts that set a compelling vision for the College, subsequently spearheading new initiatives and projects to advance that vision. His engaged and innovative approach is evident in the partnerships he has developed to promote research and leverage its impact. As founding director of Clemson’s Risk Engineering and Systems Analytics Institute, he brought together industry, government, and academic partners to develop programs that advance transdisciplinary research and education while addressing industry needs.

Dr. Martin also brings a deep commitment to engaging students and faculty in the excitement and the possibilities engineering offers. At Clemson, he led a National Science Foundation-funded Revolutionizing Engineering Departments project that applies organizational change theory to optimize academic departments. This dynamic modeling provides insights about factors that influence diversity and decision-making of engineering students, as well as conditions that affect faculty output and connectivity. A Research Traineeship grant, also from the National Science Foundation, has allowed the Department of Civil Engineering to develop new educational programs and cross-disciplinary research collaborations, resulting in $20 million in new research funding over two years.

Internationally recognized for his research on earthquakes, Dr. Martin is regularly called upon to serve on field teams after earthquakes strike and was the Team Leader for the National Science Foundation’s Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Team’s study of the 2011 earthquake in Virginia and Washington, DC. He has also worked on teams studying earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, and Turkey, and has served as a consultant on more than 100 major national and international civil projects.

Dr. Martin earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate in civil engineering at Virginia Tech. He was inducted into the Civil Engineering Department’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2015. As a faculty member at Virginia Tech for nearly 20 years, he also received the department’s Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence and the College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. In addition, he was recognized with the Norman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the field’s highest honor for published work.

Dr. Martin’s experience and expertise are well-matched to our continued aspirations for the Swanson School and the University. He is committed to building the School in ways that will enhance the scholarly and teaching contributions of the faculty and enable our students to succeed in a global marketplace.

I am delighted that Dr. Martin has agreed to serve as the new U.S. Steel Dean of the Swanson School of Engineering. I have great confidence that his achievements and proven leadership capabilities will help us continue the momentum we have built in engineering at the University. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Martin to the University of Pittsburgh.


Patricia E. Beeson


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