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College of Engineering dean abruptly resigns

EngineeringFollowing an inspirational speech by civil engineering graduate Michael Ulroan at this year’s commencement ceremony, the College of Engineering now faces the challenge of finding a new person to head operations.

Tien-Chien Jen, Ph.D., announced his resignation as dean of the UAA College of Engineering after serving one year in the position. The resignation, effective immediately, was announced in an email last Tuesday by Provost Elisha Baker, stating that the decision was reached following a discussion of “some matters of concern” between Jen and Baker.

Associate Dean Emeritus T. Bartlett Quimby, Ph.D, will step in as acting dean while UAA searches for a replacement for Quimby, who plans to go into retirement July 1.

“Though we’ve had an abrupt change in leadership in the College of Engineering with Dr. Jen’s resignation last week, I am confident we are in good hands with Dr. Bart Quimby at the helm as acting dean,” Baker said.

Jen, who was educated in Taiwan and holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UCLA, came to UAA from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where he served as the interim dean for the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

At the University of Wisconsin, Jen led the engineering college through an accreditation process, and his time at UAA had coincided with the construction of a new four-story, 80,000-square-foot engineering building that UAA stated is needed to maintain accreditation for its engineering programs.

“The College of Engineering is experiencing great momentum. … It is my vision that this college will be the country’s most accessible college for industry to work with,” Jen said in a University Advancement release in January.

Following Jen’s resignation, Baker said the college’s plans will continue as scheduled.

“The new building is still on track to open in fall 2015, and our program delivery and student services will remain unaffected with this change,” Baker said.

Jen could not be reached for further comment.

Written by Evan Erickson

1 Comments

  • As a faculty at UAA, I have met and worked with Dean Jen on a couple of occasions. He is a very nice and hardworking person who has done a lot for the college. I know for a fact that I am looking forward to seeing the new engineering building. I have heard from some people close to Provost Baker that he forced the resignation of Dean Jen. What I can’t understand is why the provost would remove a rising star at UAA. I have personally seen that the provost play favorites with faculty and staff and has made too many poor administrative decisions, including the one to implement prioritization. I can’t think of any other reason to remove Dean Jen other than the fact the provost is actively trying to cover something up.

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