Institute announces hiring of new deans

Rensselaer announced in mid-May that it had filled two of the empty dean positions. Evan Douglis will take over as the new dean of the School of Architecture and David Rosowsky will be the new dean for the School of Engineering. Rosowsky’s appointment will be effective July 15, while Douglis’ will be August 1.

Rosowsky comes to Rensselaer from Texas A&M University, where he had served as the head of the Zachry Civil Engineering department. He looks forward to returning to the Northeast, having grown up near Boston and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Tufts University. He later completed his doctorate, also in civil engineering, at Johns Hopkins University. Rosowsky was a professor at Oregon State University prior to his move to Texas. In his five years spent as department head at Texas A&M, Rosowsky helped transform the department by overseeing the largest faculty expansion in the department’s history and leading it to rise in the U.S. News & World Report undergraduate rankings to 7th and graduate rankings to 8th among all public institutions. 

Rosowsky feels that moving around so much and having been at multiple universities as both a student and professor has helped prepare him to fill the dean position at Rensselaer. “It’s a very unique opportunity for an engineering dean because Rensselaer is such a prestigious school,” Rosowsky remarked. “It has such a long and rich history in engineering, particularly in my discipline.”

Excited to work with the faculty and students at RPI, Rosowsky is waiting until he has had a chance to meet with everyone and understand the culture of the Institute before making any sweeping changes. Broadly, he hopes to grow faculty size and create new resources for the school of engineering, as well as “continue to elevate the school in terms of national visibility and national prominence.”

Having followed the transformation at RPI over the last decade, Rosowsky looks forward to the opportunity to lead the School of Engineering at the time of such an exciting transition.

Douglis served as chair of the Undergraduate Department in the School of Architecture at the Pratt Institute and principal of the contemporary architecture and design firm Evan Douglis Studio prior to accepting the position of dean of the School of Architecture at RPI. Douglis will be responsible for leading the undergraduate and graduate education programs and research within the School of Architecture in his new position, in addition to continuing to attract new faculty. Douglis received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Cooper Union’s School of Architecture and his master’s degree from Harvard University.

Prior to his position at Pratt, Douglis was an assistant associate professor at Columbia University and also as a visiting professor at the Cooper Union. He has won numerous awards for his design, including a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and an ACADIA Award for Emerging Digital Practice.

President Shirley Ann Jackson said in an RPI press release, “As architecture students and faculty at Rensselaer continue to move into forward-looking areas of sustainable building, digital design, materials creation, and artistic expression in the 21st century, we will look to the innovative leadership of Mr. Douglis to guide the School of Architecture into a new era of national and international prominence.”

Douglis was not available for comment prior to publication.

Rensselaer is still in the search process to fill the positions of Dean of the School of Science and Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.