by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published May 1, 2020
The University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has named Rajan Batta as associate dean for faculty affairs and diversity, and appointed Francine Battaglia as chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Batta, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, returns to the position after serving as the interim dean of the school. He will oversee faculty reappointments, promotion and tenure, as well as oversee the growth of the school’s diversity initiatives.
“I am excited to take on the role of faculty affairs, especially in the exploration of awards and recognition for our excellent faculty. I am also excited to help spearhead diversity initiatives, especially in helping improve our women and underrepresented minority numbers for students and faculty,” says Batta.
“I am thankful that Rajan has agreed to resume the role of associate dean for faculty affairs and diversity. He has done a fantastic job as interim dean in leading the school through unprecedented times. Because of his leadership and vision, I am confident that we stand ready to emerge from this challenging season with renewed strength and momentum, and I look forward to working with him,” says Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
An internationally recognized researcher who focuses on using industrial engineering techniques to solve complex logistical problems that benefit society as a whole, Batta has been a UB faculty member since 1984. He has a sustained record of research funding, with more than $13 million in grants from federal and state agencies and private industry, and has published more than 140 articles in the top journals in his field.
An excellent teacher and mentor, Batta has supervised or co-supervised 100 doctoral and master’s students. In recognition of his exceptional work, he has received many awards and honors, including the Dr. David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award, the Award for Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering, and the Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, the largest professional society in his field.
Batta previously served as acting/interim dean from 2011-12, as well as associate dean for research and graduate education, and chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Francine Battaglia, who was serving as acting associate dean for faculty affairs in the school, will now lead the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
“It is a great privilege to be appointed the MAE department chair and follow Dean Lewis’ successes as he led the department towards excellence. He has left an indelible footprint, and served as a role model from whom I have had the pleasure of learning these last few years,” says Battaglia.
“I think a successful department will embrace change and cultivate existing strengths. As chair, I will endeavor to listen, assist, support and make decisions for the department so that everyone can successfully reach their goals with a shared vision of the program and future,” she added.
“Francine brings outstanding leadership experience and dedication to excellence to the role of chair. I am confident that the department will continue to excel in the years ahead under her leadership,” says Lewis.
A professor and expert in fluid thermal sciences, Battaglia joined the University at Buffalo in 2017 after ten years at Virginia Tech and eight years at Iowa State University.
Battaglia’s research explores issues related to the thermal sciences, such as building energy utilization, alternative energy, and turbulent multiphase and reacting flows. She has received $8M in federal and state research funding, primarily from the Department of Energy (DOE).
She is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Thermal and Fluids Engineers. She currently serves as editor for the ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering and is a 2019-2020 fellow in the Mid-American Conference Academic Leadership Development Program. She has co-authored 130 refereed journal and conference papers, and supervised over 40 MS and PhD students.
She received her PhD from Pennsylvania State University in mechanical engineering, and her BS (mechanical) and MS (aerospace) degrees from the University at Buffalo.