by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published January 5, 2023
Award winning educator and environmental engineer James Jensen has been appointed chair of the Department of Engineering Education in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Jensen succeeds Carl Lund, who has served as chair since the department was formed in 2018.
A UB faculty member since 1988, Jensen has made significant contributions to teaching and learning, and environmental engineering. An outstanding educator, he has been recognized for his educational excellence with a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1995, the President Emeritus and Mrs. Martin Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring in 2013, and was named Engineer Educator of the Year by the Erie-Niagara Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers in 2009.
“I look forward to building on our family of scholars and educators dedicated to improving the learning experiences of engineers and applied scientists, cultivating strong technical communications skills, creating and implementing inclusive student-centered teaching methods, and retaining a more diverse engineering student population,” says Jensen. “Through Carl Lund’s leadership and the efforts of faculty and staff, the department is poised to bring forward new generations of diverse, healthy, and impeccably trained engineers and applied scientists.”
During his time at UB, Jensen has served as director of UB’s Center for Teaching and Learning Resources from 2003 to 2004. He was the Academic Director of the Research Exploration Academy (2009-2014) and the Sustainability Academy (2016-2017). He served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering from 2005-2010 and 2015-2020.
In addition, Jensen is a regular participant in outreach activities, including the Annual Science Exploration Day, for which he received a Distinguished Service Award in 2013. He received the Sustainability Leadership, Innovation, and Collaborative Engagement (SLICE) Faculty Award for Sustainability in Higher Education in 2019 and the UB Award for Faculty Distinction in Academic Integrity in 2021.
He is the author of three textbooks, including “A User’s Guide to Engineering,” and “A Problem-Solving Approach to Aquatic Chemistry,” the latter of which is in its second edition.
Jensen’s research interests are in drinking water treatment, particularly in low-resource environments. He has mentored over 200 students in undergraduate research. His research has been funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York State, the American Chemical Society, the American Water Waters Association, the New York Water Environmental Association, the Consulting Engineers Council of New York, industry, and utilities. His research efforts have also been patented and commercialized.
“I am thankful that Professor James Jensen has agreed to assume the role of chair of the Department of Engineering Education,” says Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “He brings outstanding leadership in engineering education to the role of chair, and I am confident that the department will continue to excel in the years ahead with Jim at the helm.”
Jensen succeeds Carl Lund, who has led the Department of Engineering Education since its inception in July of 2018. During Lunds’s tenure, the department has grown to 19 faculty and two staff members, launched MS and PhD degree programs, and created an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Engineering Pedagogies and Practice. It also launched an Engineering Science undergraduate degree program, which is currently offered in person and will be additionally offered fully online as a degree completion program.
In addition, the department’s faculty have played critical roles to support and enhance the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ first year experience, which introduces students to engineering design, helps them to explore career opportunities, and provides effective onboarding of students into their major.
“Carl has been a dedicated leader and I am grateful for all his exemplary efforts to create the foundation for the Department of Engineering Education to flourish and grow beyond his tenure as chair,” says Lewis. “He has positioned the department for increased and long-term success and I look forward to continuing to work with him in his role as SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.”