vijay kumar dean

Indian American professor Vijay Kumar has been reappointed as dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science. (upenn.edu photo)

The University of Pennsylvania recently announced that Vijay Kumar has been reappointed as the Nemirovsky Family Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

His term will run through June 30, 2027, the release said, adding that university president Amy Gutmann and provost Wendell Pritchett made the announcement.

Under the Indian American professor’s leadership during the previous six years, the school’s strategic plan, Penn Engineering 2020, has catalyzed growth across all of the school’s dimensions, especially in engineering health, data science and computation, and energy science and technology, it said.

Kumar and the Penn Engineering community continue to focus their collective efforts on critical areas of schoolwide importance, including diversity, equity, and inclusion; collaborative and translational research; and pedagogic innovation in online learning and investment in educational technologies, according to the university release.

“Penn Engineering has achieved truly remarkable growth under Dean Kumar,” said Gutmann. She cited growth in its preeminent faculty, adding 44 new tenure-track faculty from 2015 to 2020; modernization and growth in its physical plant, highlighted by the soon-to-come Data Science Building; growth in student quality, selectivity, and diversity; growth in cross-school, interdisciplinary partnerships, with prominent examples including the Penn Center for Health, Devices and Technology (Penn Health-Tech), energy science and technology initiatives; growth in innovative new degree programs, most notably the first-of-its-kind online Master of Computer and Information Technology; and student entrepreneurship programming, according to the report.

“Under Dean Kumar’s exemplary leadership, the school’s response to the pandemic was nothing short of heroic,” Gutmann added. “Students banded together to manufacture and mass produce critical, lifesaving PPE; researchers developed diagnostics, treatments, and therapeutics in partnership with Penn Medicine and other health science schools; and faculty members reconfigured hundreds of longstanding courses for a virtual format.”

According to his bio, Kumar has appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Computer and Information Science, and Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn. He received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Kumar previously served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (2012 – 2013). His lab has spun off many startups in robotics, and he is the founder of Exyn Technologies. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

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