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Friday, December 19, 2014

Engineering dean ousted

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@ArdeeTheJourno

By next week, UNM’s School of Engineering will seek new leadership.

This week, UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said he had decided to relieve current engineering Dean Catalin Roman of his position.

“I decided to replace him due to a divergence of opinions on changing direction for the school of engineering,” Abdallah said.

On Feb. 21, Roman will be required to step down as dean and will begin his new role as a tenured professor in computer science, according to a press release from UNM Today.

Abdallah said that although the final decision to replace Roman was on him, he was not the only person who decided on the matter. He said he had consulted with UNM President Robert Frank and Executive Vice President David Harris before he finalized his verdict.

“The chairs serve at the pleasure of the dean, the deans at the pleasure of the provost, and the provost at the pleasure of the president,” he said. “As provost, I made the decision to release Dean Roman from his duties, but first consulted with the senior leaders of the University.”

According to the School of Engineering’s website, Roman assumed his position in July 2011 after a national search by the University. Originally from Romania and with a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, Roman served as the 18th dean of the school.

Abdallah said he had notified Roman about his decision before he announced it publicly.

Roman declined to speak with the Daily Lobo when asked to comment on Abdallah’s decision.

Abdallah said the University would conduct a national search to find Roman’s replacement. But he said the search process might not finish until the next school year.

“There will be a national search as is the case for such positions,” he said. “Dean searches take almost a year to complete. UNM has a strong and well-recognized engineering school, so we will conduct a national search to find the right leader to not only keep it that way but to take it to the next level.”

According to UNM Today, “all programs with which Roman has been affiliated will continue as planned” even after his departure from office.

Because the search process for a new dean is expected to take some time, Abdallah said that at the moment, he is consulting with administrators in the School of Engineering to find a suitable interim dean.

“In the meantime, I am consulting with the chairs of the departments in the School of Engineering, associate deans, the centers’ directors and distinguished professors,” he said. “I feel it’s important to consult with the chairs and other school leaders to ensure that we get someone experienced and trusted to keep the school operating at a high level while we find the best fit for the future in a new dean.”

Abdallah said he will appoint an interim dean for the school on Feb. 21 as Roman steps down.