Campus Appointments and Promotions

WPI is well positioned for continued growth in areas important to the university's academic programs and in its contributions to economic development, following the recent announcements of two inaugural academic deans and executive promotions.

Stephen Flavin has been promoted to vice president for academic and corporate development, in addition to his continuing role as associate provost. He has served since 2007 as WPI's dean of Corporate and Professional Education (CPE). In his expanded role, Flavin will have primary responsibility for all of WPI's corporate relations, with an emphasis on developing mutually rewarding, rich relationships with the wide variety of WPI's corporate partners. He will also oversee all of WPI's entrepreneurial academic programs, such as CPE, summer programs, and distance learning.

Flavin more than doubled revenues for CPE in four years, while increasing the number of new corporate programs by 300 percent. He has also promoted the development of new programs in Systems Engineering and Biomanufacturing. Through his leadership, CPE has taken a leading role in workforce development in the Northeast by working with industry and government to provide critical workforce education and training. He also played a key role in attracting a $6.6 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to support the next phase of life sciences development at Gateway Park.

Karen Kashmanian Oates has been selected as the first Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences. She comes to WPI from the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Studies, where she is the deputy director of undergraduate education.

As dean, Oates will oversee seven academic departments— Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Humanities and Arts, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, and Social Science and Policy Studies—as well as interdisciplinary programs in Environmental Science and Interactive Media and Game Development. She will also have responsibility for helping promote and augment WPI's aggressive investment in the life sciences.

A biochemist, Oates earned her PhD at George Washington University, worked as a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health's Oncology and Hematology Division, and began her academic and research career at George Mason University, before being called to a number of increasingly prominent leadership positions. As an associate dean at George Mason she was central in creating its New American College environment. Later, she was recruited to help found, as its inaugural provost, the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

Eric Overstrom, biology professor and head of the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, has been named Provost ad interim, following John Orr's decision to return to full-time teaching and research in WPI's electrical and computer engineering department.

Overstrom's leadership in the life sciences at WPI was instrumental in the creation of the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park (LSBC), which opened in 2007. Over the past five years, with Overstrom leading the charge, WPI has brought outstanding faculty and students into the life sciences programs, and has tripled research funding in this area. Through his leadership, the LSBC has come to serve not only as the school's focal point for graduate education and research in the life sciences and related bioengineering fields, but also as a strong contributor to the continuing development of life sciences industries in the commonwealth.

Mark Rice begins his tenure as the first Dean of Business. Building on the success of WPI's Department of Management, he will lead the university's new business school. Rice comes to WPI from Babson College, where he served for six years as the Murata Dean of the F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business and holds an appointment as the Frederic C. Hamilton Professor for Free Enterprise. Prior to Babson, he was a member of the leadership team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's School of Management and Technology, where he served as director of the Incubator Program and the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship. His numerous scholarly publications on entrepreneurship and innovation include the best-selling book Growing New Ventures—Creating New Jobs, co-authored with Jana Matthews.

Rice will succeed McRae Banks who has led WPI's highly acclaimed Department of Management for the past 15 years.

Kristin Tichenor has been promoted to senior vice president for enrollment and institutional strategy. Since 2007 she has served as vice president for enrollment management. Tichenor's additional responsibilities will include overseeing the university's Division of Marketing and Communications and helping guide the Institute on major strategic challenges and opportunities.

Through Tichenor's leadership, WPI's applications for admission, both undergraduate and graduate, have increased dramatically. She has been highly successful in attracting women and underrepresented minorities to the university, where applications from these groups over the last five years have grown by 140 and 170 percent, respectively. Tichenor began her tenure at WPI in 2000; she previously worked in admissions at Clark University and Wheaton College.

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Last modified: July 14, 2010 09:07:38