Dr. Prabhat Hajela, an experienced academic and administrative leader, was recently appointed provost of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, effective July 1.
Hajela has served as acting provost since Jan. 1.
"Following an international search, Dr. Hajela emerged as the leading candidate among an exceptionally strong pool of candidates for the position. He brings to the position a wealth of experience as a leader in teaching, research, administration, and faculty governance gained during his distinguished career in higher education,” Rensselaer president Shirley Ann Jackson stated in a press release.
"This is an exciting and transformational period for higher education," Hajela said. "New modes of communication have redefined the landscape, offering enhanced connectivity and access to education for millions of individuals on an unprecedented global scale. Building on a storied tradition of innovation in teaching and research, Rensselaer will lead with transformational changes in its research and learning environment."
As vice provost since 2005, Hajela has been instrumental in helping Rensselaer maintain its leadership position in undergraduate education.
Under the auspices of the Undergraduate Plan, the Indian American professor led the expansion of undergraduate research programs, developed several new study abroad and international experience opportunities, and created the framework for living and learning communities.
An expert in complex system analysis and design in the presence of uncertainty, Hajela has published over 270 papers and articles in the areas of structural and multidisciplinary optimization, and is an author/editor of four books in these areas. He has held editorial assignments and serves on the editorial boards of several international journals.
In 2004, Hajela was the recipient of AIAA's Biennial Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award. He is a Lifetime Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India, and a Fellow of ASME.
Hajela received his undergraduate degree (with distinction) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; and master's degrees in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.
He was awarded his Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford in 1982 and did postdoctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles, before joining the University of Florida as a faculty member in 1983, where he was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1987.
He was recruited to Rensselaer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 1992. He served as president and chair of the prior Faculty Senate from 1999 to 2002, and was appointed vice provost in 2005.
He also served as administrative dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences during the 2010-11 academic year.