FPE News Story

New Department Chairs Named

New Department Chairs Named

Clark School Dean Darryll Pines today announced that Professor Balakumar Balachandran has been picked to lead the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Professor James Milke will chair the Department of Fire Protection Engineering.

Balachandran becomes chair effectively immediately.

"Professor Balachandran will bring to his new position the strengths that have made him so effective as the department’s former director of graduate studies," said Pines. "During his time in that role, the diversity of the department’s graduate student population increased, as did the number of students recruited from highly ranked undergraduate programs, the number of fellowship holders and the number of Ph.D. graduates placed in tenure-track positions."

A faculty member at the Clark School since 1993, Balachandran received his B. Tech (naval architecture) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, and his M.S. (aerospace engineering) and Ph.D. (engineering mechanics) from Virginia Tech. He directs both the Vibrations and the Dynamics and Control Laboratories. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications, serves in editorial capacities at major journals, and is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, where he has chaired committees in his areas of expertise. 

Milke will take on his responsibility effective July 1. He replaces Professor Marino diMarzo, who has served the department and the college for several years. Prof. diMarzo will continue on as director of facilities for the college once his term as chair concludes on June 30. 

"Professor Milke brings to his new position a wealth of experience having served as the associate chair of undergraduate programs," Pines said. "During his time in that role, the department’s undergraduate enrollment has grown significantly."

A faculty and staff member at the Clark School since 1977, Milke received his B.S. (fire protection engineering), and his Ph.D. (aerospace engineering) from UM. He has served as a research fire prevention engineer at the Center for Fire Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology, as the Fire Protection Engineer for Fairfax County, Va., as a research assistant for the University of Maryland, and as a consultant to several organizations. He is a fellow and vice president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. He is a member of several professional societies, including the National Fire Protection Association, International Association for Fire Safety Science, American Society of Civil Engineers and American Society for Testing and Materials. He is a member of the Fire Council of Underwriters Laboratories.

Related Articles:
AFAA Honors Milke
Milke Recognized as Provost’s Faculty Academic Advisor of the Year

May 3, 2011


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