July 12, 2006

Case Western Reserve University engineering dean to step down

Dean Savinell

After leading the Case Western Reserve University Case School of Engineering to record highs in fundraising, research expenditures and improved relations with its alumni, Robert F. Savinell will step down as dean effective December 31, 2006, in order to focus on his research in fuel cells and electrochemistry.

Dean since 2001, Savinell, the George S. Dively Professor of Engineering, will remain on campus during the spring 2007 semester to aid in the school's transition to a new dean. He will then be on sabbatical during the 2007-2008 academic year, returning to the full-time faculty for the fall 2008 semester.

"I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to the faculty and staff of the Case School of Engineering for their support and to commend them on six years of unprecedented success and accomplishment," Savinell said. "This collection of individuals has propelled the school and university to an even greater level of prominence. These are women and men who care about our students, who push the limits of science and engineering knowledge and who strive to grow to ever higher levels of wisdom. I was privileged to serve as their leader for the past six years and will look forward to continuing my association with them as a member of the faculty."

Provost and University Vice President John L. Anderson will call a special meeting of the Case School of Engineering executive committee faculty to discuss their recommendations for a search team and potential candidates.

"Dean Savinell has met the goals he set out to accomplish as dean. He leaves the School of Engineering positioned for a new leader who can take on the next set of challenges," Anderson said.

In addition to successes in fundraising and research, Savinell was instrumental in the university's new relationship with the Case Alumni Association, which will improve alumni engagement and giving. He also guided the school through its recent 125th anniversary celebration.

Accomplishments at the Case School of Engineering during Savinell's deanship include:

  • Research awards more than doubled to a record high of $60 million;
  • Research expenditures increased to a record high of $41.7 million;
  • Attracted major multidisciplinary and multimillion dollar awards in research from NASA and the State of Ohio (Biomedical Research Technology Transfer, Wright Fuel Cell Group, etc.);
  • Secured first State of Ohio investments to a private university for Ohio Eminent Scholars;
  • Number of incoming freshmen soared 30 percent to more than 416 in the fall of 2006;
  • Undergraduate programs requesting American Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology review all earned maximum six-year accreditation;
  • Average starting salaries of graduates surpass the national average in every single engineering discipline;
  • National rankings hold steadfast amid the "Top 50" national doctoral research universities;
  • SAGES program adopted throughout engineering;
  • Faculty gender diversity improves from a fraction of the national average to exceeding it;
  • Experiential learning opportunities—such as co-op and international programs—have become standard among the majority of undergraduates;
  • Co-op program becomes one of the nation's first accredited programs; and
  • Development program rebuilt and achieved record fund-raising result of more than $14.3 million in FY2006.
About Robert F. Savinell

Savinell's accomplishments include over 110 publications, 10 patents and numerous professional meeting presentations. His total research funding over the past 12 years is estimated to be more than $28 million. His largest single grant is from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and was $8.3 million over five years.

His research involves the study and simulation of electrochemical processes and novel electrochemical devices for sensing and energy conversion. He is noted for his contributions in applied electrochemistry, with a continuing emphasis on fuel cells and batteries.

A registered professional engineer in Ohio, Savinell has served as divisional editor for the Journal of Electrochemical Society and North American editor for the Journal of Applied Electrochemistry and has been a member of the Electrochemical Society board of directors, vice president of the International Society of Electrochemistry and chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Fuel Cells at Roger William University. He is currently a member of the Cleveland Engineering Society board of directors, a member of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition board of directors and chair of the Wright Fuel Cell Group board of directors.

His honors include being named a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a fellow of the Electrochemical Society and a presidential young investigator of the National Science Foundation.

After receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cleveland State University, Savinell earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. After three years in industry and seven years on the engineering faculty at the University of Akron, Savinell joined the Case faculty in 1986. Promoted to professor of chemical engineering in 1989, he served from 1991 to 2000 as director of the Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences. From 1998 to 2000, he served as the school's associate dean for research and technology transfer.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, July 12, 2006 08:30 AM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, HeadlinesMain

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