Inside Rensselaer
Acting Deans Appointed
* Acting Deans Appointed
David Spooner,
School of Science
Mark Mistur,
School of Architecture
Timothy Wei,
School of Engineering
Rensselaer has announced the appointments of acting deans for the School of Science, School of Architecture, and School of Engineering. David Spooner, associate dean of science and information technology (IT), has been appointed acting dean of the School of Science; Mark Mistur ’83, associate professor of architecture, has been named acting dean of the School of Architecture; and Timothy Wei, professor and head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE), has been named acting dean of the School of Engineering.

“I am grateful that three of our leading faculty members have agreed to take on the responsibilities of leading the schools as acting deans, working closely with the departing deans to assure smooth transitions,” said President Jackson in making the announcement. “I know that their faculty colleagues will work closely with them to ensure that we maintain and build on the momentum we have established at Rensselaer as we seek permanent leadership in these key academic areas.”

Spooner has spent his 27-year career at Rensselaer and has helped lead the IT program and the School of Science during that time. As associate dean, he has built and developed the interdisciplinary IT program since its inception in 1998, first as the undergraduate curriculum committee chair and then as associate dean for IT.

Spooner joined Rensselaer in 1981 as an assistant professor of computer science after earning his doctorate in computer science at Pennsylvania State University. He has served as chair of the graduate committee in computer science, chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee in information technology, and acting chair of computer science.

Spooner’s research focuses on database security and engineering database problems. He has many publications in his field as well as several well-recognized publications on IT education and curriculum development. He earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Penn State and a master’s degree from Cornell University, all in computer science.

Mistur has played an integral role in facilitating the School of Architecture’s key initiatives through the development of new educational degree programs, the integration of cutting-edge technology into the classroom, the creation of new coursework, and the strengthening of existing curriculums. He also served as the School of Architecture’s associate dean for six years from 1998-2004.

Mistur developed the School of Architecture’s Design Development Studio course. Additionally, he played a key role in redesigning the final project and thesis experience for seniors, making it a requirement for all potential graduates to participate in a professional design competition.

An expert in architectural design, process, and technology, Mistur worked with his colleagues to develop created two graduate programs — Architectural Acoustics, which focuses on effectively shaping sonic environments to achieve optimum acoustic performance and sound quality, and the Built Ecologies program, which emphasizes the development and integration of next-generation performance-driven building technologies to support a progressive rethinking of building system design that seeks energy independent, self-sustaining built environments.

Mistur received the Rensselaer Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award in 2003 and the Rensselaer Faculty Early Research Career Award in 2005. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture from Rensselaer.

As a professor, researcher, and department head, Wei has played a critical role in the continued and burgeoning success of the School of Engineering to both educate the scientific leaders of tomorrow and foster a rich, collaborative culture of innovative research among faculty.

After spending nearly 20 years at Rutgers University, Wei joined Rensselaer in 2006. His efforts have strengthened the recruitment of new faculty and students, and he has been a key figure in shaping MANE into an increasingly competitive and cohesive department.

An expert in fluid dynamics, Wei has used unique video-based tools toward a range of challenges, from helping vascular and neurosurgeons solve fluid problems in the human body, to advising U.S. Olympic swimmers on how to improve their techniques and lap times in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has attracted millions of research dollars in grant funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other top agencies.

Wei received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and mechanics from Lehigh University, and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 2, Number 11, July 7, 2008
©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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