New dean of Fairfield University's School of Engineering brings extensive experience in research, service learning, and management


Image: Bruce BerdanierBruce W. Berdanier, Ph.D., currently professor and department head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at South Dakota State University (SDSU), has been appointed the new dean of Fairfield University's School of Engineering. Dr. Berdanier, who will start his position on July 1, 2013, fills a post held by Interim Dean Jack W. Beal, Ph.D., who has been on the Fairfield faculty for 27 years. The appointment follows a comprehensive national search.

In making the announcement, Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., said: "Dr. Berdanier brings to Fairfield an impressive history of leadership, research, and management from his time at SDSU. He has been instrumental in furthering SDSU's efforts to increase its funded research on both the graduate and undergraduate level, and has recently led re-accreditation efforts for the university's Civil Engineering program with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)."

Keenly aware of the power of engineers to transform a society, Dr. Berdanier has a history of putting his talents to work in service to others. He has extensive experience in service learning initiatives, and international service-oriented engineering projects. For the past 15 years, he has been involved in engineering research and service projects in Haiti, has participated as a Fulbright Research Scholar in Jordan, and started an active Engineers Without Borders chapter at SDSU, working with students to design and implement a water treatment system in Bolivia.

Dr. Berdanier said he's excited to take on a leadership role at Fairfield. "To be part of the School of Engineering that wants to address the grand challenges facing our society in the context of trying to find better answers while serving the needs of the world is such a value added proposition for everyone involved."

Dr. Berdanier received a BSCE from Ohio State University in 1980, an MSCE in Environmental Engineering from Purdue University in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Hydrogeology from The Ohio State University in 1995.

He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Prior to joining SDSU in 2008, he held various positions at Ohio Northern University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

In addition to having spent the past 17 years in academia, Dr. Berdanier managed his own consulting engineering company, Village Engineering, Ltd., from 1983-2007. The focus of his research and consulting relates to the distribution and interactions of various chemical compounds in studies of surface water quality and in municipal wastewater treatment. His list of publications and presentations on those subjects and others is extensive. He served as city engineer in Shelby, Ohio, from 1992 to 1996.

Dr. Berdanier joins a growing school at Fairfield that is known for its small-class and laboratory settings, and as a place to collaborate closely with seasoned faculty and industry leaders who serve as capstone and internship mentors. The school was recently re-accredited by ABET. Two years ago, it established the Clare Boothe Luce Professorship for a woman scholar in the discipline of mechanical engineering - now the largest department within the school. The overall goal of the School of Engineering is to graduate career ready, socially responsible engineers. For more information about Fairfield University's School of Engineering, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/soe/

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Posted on March 27, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 238