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Celebrating 30 Years

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Five engineering faculty bring expertise in research and industry to new leadership roles

On July 1, 2021, the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering will fill five leadership roles at the college: Charles Wyman, distinguished professor and Ford Motor Company Chair, as associate dean for graduate research and education; Marek Chrobak, professor of computer science and engineering, as associate dean of academic personnel; and three new department chairs: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering chair and professor Ertem Tuncel, Department of Mechanical Engineering chair and professor Guanshui (Alex) Xu, and Materials Science and Engineering Program chair and associate professor Juchen Guo.

“These newly appointed leaders bring a distinguished career and track record not only here at UC Riverside, but in top companies in industry and at national research institutions,” said Christopher S. Lynch, dean of the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering. “With their diverse knowledge and expertise, I am confident the college will continue its growth trajectory into our next thirty years.”

In 2020, BCOE had great success in its engineering research and secured four prestigious research centers and collaborations, including UCR’s first National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center as well as a $7.5 million grant from the Department of Defense for the NC4 center on electronic communications, one of the largest federal grants UCR has ever received. These research wins have been bolstered by upward-trending graduate enrollment at the college and a new master’s degree in Robotics now enrolling for fall 2021 admission. Under Wyman’s leadership as associate dean for graduate research and education, the college is well-poised to expand its groundbreaking research in energy and sustainability and continue to grow its nearly 1,000 talented graduate students sought after for their high value to industry, academia and entrepreneurship.

As with the college, the departments and programs have continued to flourish. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering both moved up in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings. The Department of Mechanical Engineering is home to the campus’ first NSF Engineering Research Center collaboration; the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is home to a UCR-led U.S. Department of Defense Center of Excellence, one of only nine in the country, to improve large-scale networked systems. The Materials Science and Engineering Program is collaborating on a Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) in partnership with 18 research institutions and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The program faculty have has also recently received accolades, including Turkey’s highest scientific honor and a $3 million Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship.

Read more about BCOE’s newly elected leaders below:

Research Highlight - Charlyes Wyman
Charles Wyman

Bourns College of Engineering Associate Dean for Graduate Research and Education, Distinguished Professor and Ford Motor Company Chair Charles Wyman: Leading up to a longstanding history with BCOE since 2005, Charles Wyman left an eminent imprint in the bioenergy industry. For nearly two decades Wyman led biofuels research and development at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, working closely with the United States Department of Energy to help define the National Strategy for the Biomass Program. He went on to found Vertimass LLC, a company focused on catalytic conversion of alcohols to sustainable hydrocarbon fuels, and Mascoma Corporation, a company focused on advanced technologies for biomass conversion to ethanol and other products, where he also served as chief development officer and former chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. In addition, Wyman served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. 

Before joining BCOE, Wyman was a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College and later named the Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering Design and interim Senior Associate Dean of the Thayer School of Engineering. Charlie earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Denver. Wyman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) as well as a member of ACS. He was voted by Biofuels Digest subscribers as being among the top 100 people in bioenergy. He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the open-access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels and has served on the editorial board and board of directors of several technical journals.

Marek Chrobak
Marek Chrobak

Bourns College of Engineering Associate Dean for Academic Personnel, Professor Marek Chrobak: Marek Chrobak earned a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Warsaw, Poland. Prior to joining UC Riverside in 1987, Chrobak held an assistant professor position at Warsaw University and a visiting position at Columbia University. Chrobak’s research focus areas include algorithms and data structures, theory of computation, and combinatorics and graph theory. 

Ertem Tuncel
Ertem Tuncel

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair, Professor Ertem Tuncel: Ertem Tuncel joined UCR in 2003 after receiving a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UC Santa Barbara. Tuncel brings a diverse knowledge of the inner workings of the department, college and campus, having served in various capacities: as the electrical engineering graduate advisor for five years, as a member of the BCOE Executive Council for three years, as a member of Graduate Council for three years and most recently vice chair this past year, and as a member of Committee on Committees for one year. Since 2017, Tuncel has served as the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division with a focus on petitions, employment and academic integrity, and since 2019 as the Electrical and Computer Engineering vice chair. Tuncel’s research focus areas include joint source-channel coding, fundamental tradeoffs in data identification systems, and zero-error information theory.

Alex Xu
Alex Xu

Department of Mechanical Engineering Chair, Professor Guanshui (Alex) Xu: Alex Xu received a Ph.D. from Brown University, completed his postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and joined UCR in 1998 after working as a project engineer in the oil and gas industry. Over the years, Xu has collegially served a broad range of the department, college, and campus committees and made considerable contributions to the development of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Xu’s work on the mechanical behavior of crystalline materials, earthquake mechanisms, and hydraulic fracturing have been supported by a variety of funding agencies including the National Science Foundation, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Army Research Office, Southern California Earthquake Center, and the oil and gas industry.

Juchen Guo
Juchen Guo

Materials Science and Engineering Program Chair, Associate Professor Juchen Guo: Juchen Guo earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Zhejiang University in 1999 and Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from University of Maryland in 2007. Guo served as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Maryland and Cornell University before joining BCOE. Guo was the recipient of the 2018 National Science Foundation CAREER Award and 2014 Hellman Fellowship, both of which support research and creative activities of promising junior faculty who exhibit potential for great distinction in their area of expertise. Guo’s research focus area includes electrochemical energy storage technologies.