Livesay named new dean of engineering


Joseph Barringhaus

Dennis Livesay speaks to faculty and staff at an open forum in September. Livesay is currently the dean of the Graduate School, associate vice president for Research and Technology and a professor at Wichita State University.

Dean of the Graduate School Dennis Livesay is the college of engineering’s new dean, effective January 1, the university announced Thursday.

Livesay — who also holds the roles of associate vice president for Research and Technology Transfer and professor of chemistry — succeeds Royce Bowden, who resigned June 30.

Selecting Livesay was “the right thing to do,” Provost Rick Muma said, to grow the engineering school to “include more things beyond traditional engineering.”

“Research, technology, data — it’s all going to be focused around that in the future, and Dennis has expertise.”

Before coming to WSU, Livesay held positions as professor of bioinformatics and genomics and was the founding director of the bioinformatics and computational biology Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He started his academic career at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, where he was a faculty member in the chemistry department from 2000 to 2006.

Livesay said his engineering background comes from “computing and various slices of biomedical engineering.” He said that aligns with his plan of making the college more untraditional — while also retaining its traditional programs.

“One of the things I’m excited about is being able to bring a broad interdisciplinary approach to engineering,” Livesay said. “There are opportunities for us to move into the cracks between disciplines.”

“We shouldn’t be positioning different flavors of ourselves like they’re a threat to each other. In fact, we can get something where the whole is greater than the parts if we work together. If we think about badges and micro masters and other new forms of education, there’s value in them.

“Some view it as a threat to the traditional model. I see it as a way of saving the traditional model.”