WPI Announces Faculty Promotions and Tenure Awards

Six members of the WPI faculty have been promoted; five have also been granted tenure. The awards are effective July 1.

WORCESTER, Mass. – Six members of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) faculty have been promoted; five have also been granted tenure. The awards are effective July 1.

“We a very pleased and proud to be able to recognize these outstanding teacher/scholars by awarding these well-deserved promotions,” said WPI President Dennis Berkey. “The quality of their teaching, research, and scholarship, as well as the extensive personal attention that they pay to our students, is strong affirmation of WPI’s strengths and values. The trustees join me in enthusiastically extending our congratulations and deep gratitude to each.”

Emmanuel O. Agu has been promoted to associate professor of computer science and awarded tenure. Agu joined the WPI faculty in 2002 after earning a PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His teaching and research interests focus on computer networks, including wireless networks, and computer graphics. He has presented his work widely, including at the prestigious European Association for Computer Graphics Conferences. He advised an undergraduate project that received the Best Paper Award at the 2003 NetGames conference.

Kristen Billiar has been promoted to associate professor of biomedical engineering and awarded tenure. After receiving a PhD in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, Billiar worked as a staff engineer at Organogenesis Inc. before joining the WPI faculty in 2002. His research in mechanobiology, tissue engineering, and bioengineered skin substitutes has been supported by the Whittaker Foundation and the American Heart Association and has resulted in seven journal articles. He received WPI’s 2005 Romeo Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education.

Neil Heffernan has been promoted to associate professor of computer science and awarded tenure. Heffernan joined the WPI faculty in 2001 after earning a PhD in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. He conducts research in artificial intelligence, focused particularly on the development is intelligent tutoring systems. With more than $4 million in funding from the U.S. Army, the Office of Naval Research, the federal Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation (which presented him with the CAREER Award, the agency’s most prestigious award for young faculty members), he has developed ASSISTments, an instructional system for middle-school math that tutors students and assesses their progress. He has involved many undergraduates in his research, advising student projects on intelligent tutors that have resulted in several conference papers and posters.

Sergey N. Makarov has been promoted to full professor of electrical and computer engineering. He joined the WPI faculty as a research professor in 1998 and was granted tenure in 2006. Makarov has developed an international reputation for his research in acoustic wave propagation, wave and antennae systems modeling, and theoretical acoustics and electromagnetic wave theory, publishing more than 50 articles and a textbook on antenna modeling, He received WPI’s Joseph Samuel Satin Distinguished Fellowship in electrical and computer engineering in 2004. He is a review panelist for the National Science Foundation and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He holds a PhD in applied mathematics from St. Petersburg State University in Russia, where he was a professor of mathematics and mechanics before joining WPI.

Oleg V. Pavlov has been promoted to associate professor of social science and policy studies and awarded tenure. Before joining the WPI faculty in 2002, he earned a PhD in economics at the University of Southern California and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Information Systems Department in the Boston University School of Management. He brings expertise in economics, nonlinear dynamics, system dynamics, and other computational modeling techniques to his research on the dynamics of electronic marketplace, computational finance, governance, and macroeconomic growth. His scholarship has resulted in 12 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He is past president of the Economics Chapter of the International System Dynamics Society and has refereed for many journals, book publishers, and foundations--including the National Science Foundation.

Steven S. Taylor has been promoted to associate professor of management and awarded tenure. Taylor earned a PhD in management at Boston College and held a faculty position at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom before joining the WPI faculty in 2002. An active researcher in the emerging field of organization aesthetics, he has published eight refereed journal articles, 13 book chapters, 15 plays, and numerous scholarly presentations. He has also been active on two editorial boards and served as a reviewer for 11 scholarly journals, including several of the top management journals.

February 20, 2008

Contact: Lorraine U. Martinelle, Public Relations Specialist, +1-508-831-6425, lurbans@wpi.edu Eileen Brangan Mell, Director of Public Relations, +1-508-831-6785, ebmell@wpi.edu