USU selects new College of Engineering dean

LOGAN – Almost two years after Christine Hailey resigned as the dean of the College of Engineering at Utah State University, a replacement has been named. Jagath Kaluarachchi, who has been serving as the interim dean since Hailey’s departure, will officially begin service as the college’s dean on July 1.

Kaluarachchi said his goal is to have the college be a leading engineering college in the Intermountain West. To do that, he said, it will involve more than just increasing numbers. He believes in producing high-quality students, whether graduate or undergrad.

“High-quality students will have a wealth of information and knowledge that they are ready to get started working in industry or government or any other thing,” he said, “so they have that exposure, the leadership skills, the networking skills, technical knowledge, hands on experience.”

He said creating that type of student will require more than what happens in the classroom. It will require mentorship and opportunities from the college.

“A lot of the time I hear that, ‘Oh you have a student we just hired. I know the person is a 4.0 grade point average, but has absolutely no idea how the real world works,’” Kaluarachchi said. “That is the last thing I want here. Of course everybody needs to have a learning curve, no question about it, but I’d like them to have the minimum learning curve when they go to a full-time employment.”

Kaluarachchi joined USU’s engineering faculty at USU in 1991, became associate dean in 2007, senior associate dean in 2012 and headed the Biological Engineering Department from 2014 to 2016.

The appointment was made after a national search directed by College of Science Dean Maura Hagan. In a prepared statement, USU President Noelle Cockett said Kaluarachchi “brings decades of valuable experience.”

“He is well respected as a teacher and researcher in the college, as well as around the world,” she said. “Jagath has done a tremendous job of overseeing the College of Engineering over the past two years, and am I certain that he will continue to help move it forward in the future, increasing its already strong standing nationally and internationally.”

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