A UCLA engineering leader with a vision for UC Riverside’s ability to meet California’s STEM needs has been named the new dean of the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering.
Christopher S. Lynch will join Bourns as dean on September 1. Lynch is the chair of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.
“Chris Lynch brings a wealth of experience from his time at UCLA and Georgia Tech that will help advance the research, teaching and outreach missions of the Bourns College of Engineering.” said Provost Cynthia K. Larive. “His commitment to research excellence, diversity and education make him a good match for UCR’s culture as a student-centered research university.”
In discussing his interest in UCR, Lynch spoke of the campus’s capacity to help meet STEM demand. Lynch said the UC system can accommodate only about 6 percent of engineering applicants, which he called “a bottleneck at the higher education level.”
“Access to quality engineering education within the state of California is a scarce commodity. As a nation, we have promoted STEM education as the path to the middle class,” Lynch said. “BCOE has immense strengths and immense potential. Through working with UCR leadership, BCOE faculty, philanthropists, foundations, alumni, and friends, we have an opportunity to grow BCOE and for BCOE to be recognized for its excellence among the top research universities.”
Lynch received his masters and his Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara. Among his many recognitions, Lynch is an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award winner; a National Science Foundation Career Award winner; recipient of the SPIE Smart Materials and Structures Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Aerospace Division Adaptive Structures Prize and the American Society for Engineering Education Young Mechanics Educator of the Year Award; and a Fellow for the ASME, for which he is a past chair, and for SPIE.
Lynch’s engineering research has focused on the coupling between the electrical, magnetic, and mechanical behavior of materials, which has its practical application in technologies that include sonar and medical ultrasound, and also in computer memory, small antennas, and lab-on-chip technology such as cell sorting. He is an author or co-author of almost 200 published research papers. Since 2014, he has been editor in chief of the journal Smart Materials and Structures.
He joined UCLA’s faculty in 2007, coming from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a professor of mechanical engineering and an associate chair for administration. From 2008-13, he was director of the Master’s of Science Online Program at UCLA.
“I am thrilled to be joining UCR, one of the fastest-rising engineering programs in our nation,” Lynch said. “BCOE is impacting our engineering workforce by educating one of the most diverse student populations in the UC system, is taking its place as the global leader in multiple research areas, and has growing opportunities for collaboration with the new UCR Medical School on health technology, with the Anderson School of Business on launching young entrepreneurs, and with our many Pacific Rim partners in the global economy.”
Sharon Walker will remain interim dean of Bourns until August 31. On Sept. 1, she begins as the dean of the College of Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Walker has been interim dean since July 2016, when then-dean Reza Abbaschian became director of the Winston Chung Global Energy Center at UCR.