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Release: Nov. 21, 2000

UI names P. Barry Butler dean of College of Engineering

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has named mechanical engineering professor P. Barry Butler dean of the College of Engineering, effective Nov. 21. Butler, who came to the College in 1984, currently chairs the mechanical engineering department and previously served as interim dean during 1999 and associate dean for academic programs from 1997-99.

UI Provost Jon Whitmore said that Butler's research, teaching and administrative experience make him an excellent choice to lead the college.

"Professor Butler has provided the College of Engineering with outstanding service, both as interim dean and associate dean. He has been directly involved with recruiting and appointing faculty, handling student affairs issues and working on curriculum changes. He has the full support and best wishes of the Engineering Dean Search Committee and university and college administrators as he begins his leadership of the College of Engineering," Whitmore said.

Professor Forrest Holly, chair of the Engineering Dean Search Advisory Committee, said that the committee had been very impressed with the depth of faculty-staff support for Butler's candidacy. The committee found the interview process to be a particularly positive experience and is confident that the college community is ready to work with Butler in strengthening graduate programs, curriculum revision, preparation for accreditation review, and fundraising.

"I'm enthusiastic about taking on the leadership of the college. It's well known for the quality of its faculty, students and staff and for the loyalty of its alumni," Butler said. He succeeds Anthony Hines, who resigned to devote full time to teaching and research.

Butler is a nationally recognized expert in thermal science and energetic materials and has published extensively in the field. His recent research has included a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study on how conventional auto airbags work in order to help researchers design safer airbags for new cars and trucks. He has published widely in professional journals.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1979 and 1981, respectively, as well as a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1984, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Butler served as a visiting faculty member at the Universite de Provence, Marseille, France in 1994 and 1997 and as a visiting faculty fellow at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, Calif. in 1991.

His professional memberships and honors include Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and membership in The Combustion Institute, American Society for Engineering Education, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He received the SAE Ralph Teetor Educator Award in 1991 and the ASME UI Student Branch Outstanding Professor Award in 1991 and 1995. He is associate editor of the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power and a member of the organization's Propellants and Combustion Technical Committee, 1994 to present.

Butler's broad and varied service activities at the university and in the community have ranged from participating in the Wesley House Free Lunch Program from 1996-98 to serving as a mentor for 12th grade science students at Iowa City High School from 1993-98 and serving on the UI Lectures Committee from 1995-96.

One of 11 colleges on the University of Iowa campus, the College of Engineering has educational courses that date back more than a century. Its six departments include: biomedical, chemical and biochemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, industrial, and mechanical engineering. The college, ranked among the top 25 percent of engineering graduate and undergraduate programs nationally by U.S. News and World Report, is recognized for its small size, personalized approach to education and focused mission. Its location on a strong liberal arts campus -- with natural strengths in writing and communications, health sciences, business, law, and arts and humanities -- provides highly complementary resources to build the type of broad technological education demanded in a rapidly changing world.