Former National Science Foundation Official to Pursue Business Partnerships, Innovation
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) announced today the appointment of Warren R. DeVries, former National Science Foundation official and department chair of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University, as its new Dean of Engineering and Information Technology (IT).
DeVries is a leader in the national drive for excellence in engineering education and is also well known in his field for his pioneering research in manufacturing processes and systems. Since 2002, he has served as Division Director for the NSF’s Division of Design and Manufacturing Innovation, where he led a staff of 15 and managed an annual budget of $65 million. DeVries came to the NSF on assignment from Iowa State University, where he was a Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
DeVries said he believes that UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology will thrive in the 21st century by developing: diverse knowledge-enabled graduates, faculty and staff who advance the frontiers of scholarship and innovation to benefit society, and partnerships with government and industry to create new opportunities that have an impact beyond the bounds of the campus.
DeVries, whose initial responsibilities at the NSF included work with the Small Business Innovation Research program, said that he would like to use his experience to spur innovation through education, research and industry partnerships, especially with small or startup technology-based firms.
DeVries said he first became acquainted with UMBC programs and faculty during a visit to the campus over a decade ago. “I saw that exciting things were really starting to happen here,” he said. Another strong impression was that “When you come into UMBC’s campus, the Research and Technology Park is right at the front door. I think that’s very interesting and an important opportunity,” DeVries said.
“I’d like to work with faculty and staff building on UMBC’s reputation for integration of education and research covering the whole spectrum of innovation, from discovery of new knowledge and creativity to that first commercial step of a small technology businesses,” DeVries said.
“This isn’t only important for the economic vitality of Maryland and the nation, but because knowledge and people are key to the research-education-innovation cycle its part of the University’s mission," said DeVries. "Students benefit too, since according to NSF data, the largest fraction of science and engineering graduates today, about 36 percent, are employed by small technology-based firms.”
Another of DeVries’ priorities will be giving students a multidisciplinary education that prepares them to be competitive in today’s global economy. He pointed out that the College of Engineering and Information Technology’s name is indicative of the multidisciplinary opportunities in the College at UMBC.
“In order for our students to have a good life and career, we first need to provide a relevant and solid education,” DeVries said. “We’ll need a truly global view so that our graduates not only have good career opportunities, but also aspire to be leaders in their chosen fields.”
In addition to being a member of the Iowa State faculty, DeVries has also held faculty positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin-Madison. DeVries has supervised 11 Ph.D. students and nearly 40 M.S. students, and he has overseen more than $4 million in total research and educational contracts and grants.
He has authored or co-authored numerous technical papers, as well as two textbooks, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses. He received his Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and also received a B.S. in Letters and Engineering from Calvin College.
DeVries has served on the Board of Governors and as Senior Vice President for Engineering for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and on the Board of Directors and as President for the North American Manufacturing Research Institution of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He is a Fellow of both the ASME and the SME.
DeVries replaces Dr. Shlomo Carmi, who served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology and Professor of mechanical engineering since 1996. Carmi, who was the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Senior Vice President for Engineering Education from 2003 to 2006, will continue to serve UMBC as a member of the mechanical engineering faculty. DeVries begins his appointment at UMBC August 1.