Liesl Folks

As the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Liesl Folks, PhD, oversees the school’s seven departments, including tenure-track faculty, staff, and approximately 5,000 students.  

Liesl Folks, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Electrical Engineering

"Over the past few years, we have changed in innumerable ways, small and large, always striving to improve the quality of education our students receive and the impacts of our research.  These actions make us stronger, but not complacent; the more we achieve the more we see to be done to rise to the challenge of training the next generation of great engineers while delivering world-changing advances in science and technology."

Contact Information

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

208 Davis Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2771



  • PhD, Physics, The University of Western Australia, 1994
  • BSc with Honors, Physics, The University of Western Australia, 1989
  • MBA, with Distinction, Cornell University, 2004

Professional/Research Interests

Materials design and innovation, technology transfer cycle optimization, magnetic materials and devices, data storage, random access memories


Upon graduation Prof. Folks joined the faculty at The University of Western Australia (UWA) as a Teaching and Research Fellow, with research interests in the domain of time dependent phenomena of novel nanoscale permanent magnet materials.  

In 1997, she spent time at IBM Almaden Research Center in California as a Visiting Scientist, and in 1998 she became a Research Staff Member with IBM.  During her years there, she was engaged in fundamental research topics to support to the magnetic data storage business, including advancing magnetic force microscopy imaging capabilities, exploring techniques to make nanoscale bit-patterned media, and processing optimization to support the introduction of Magnetic Tunnel Junction (MTJ) sensor technologies into product.  

When IBM sold its Hard Disk Drive business to Hitachi in 2003, Folks moved to Hitachi to continue in related research. During her time with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies she researched innovative magnetic field sensors created from non-magnetic materials, and on advanced development projects related to conventional magnetic recording media. 

In 2003-2004, she briefly left the world of research to obtain an MBA degree from Cornell, taking advantage of that school’s Twelve Month Option.  

In 2012, Folks left industry to return to academia, and she now holds the post of Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo-SUNY.  She was also the President of the IEEE Magnetics Society for 2013/2014.