The interim dean of the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside will become the new dean of the College of Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, beginning Sept. 1.
Sharon Walker has been interim dean since July 2016, replacing Reza Abbaschian, who had been dean for 11 years, and who became director of the Winston Chung Global Energy Center at UCR.
“Sharon has been an outstanding faculty member and contributor to our campus.” Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Cindy Larive said. “We are especially grateful for Sharon’s effective stewardship as interim dean, and wish her every success in her new position.”
Walker received her Ph.D. from Yale University and joined the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering in 2005. Her research program was focused on water quality, particularly as it relates to bacteria and nanoparticles.
Walker is a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) and a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, for which she visited at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. She is also the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research & Creative Achievement, and AEESP’s Distinguished Service Award, among other awards from her professional community. She was also the co-founder of the women’s faculty association at UCR.
Among her accomplishments as dean, Walker oversaw a faculty increase of 7 percent, with 36 percent of those women and underrepresented minorities. Her diversity-driven faculty hiring program, the Provost’s Diversity in Engineering Fellowship, gained attention within the University of California system, and was highlighted in Inside Higher Ed. Larive noted that Walker also excelled in an important component of a dean’s responsibilities: fund-raising.
“I’m thankful for the incredible opportunities I have had here at UC Riverside,” Walker said. “UCR has provided an environment in which I could thrive as a scholar and develop as a leader. My experience here, as well as the excellent mentors I’ve had, have all played significant roles in preparing me to take on this exciting new adventure as dean at one of the nation’s largest private engineering colleges.”
In a letter to the Drexel campus today, President John Fry and Provost M. Brian Blake said Walker’s research in water quality is a good fit for the Drexel’s engineering program. “Our search committee was very much impressed by Dr. Walker’s energy, presence, and innovative ideas and perspectives,” the letter read.
Walker will remain interim dean at Bourns until the new dean is selected.