Atmospheric Science Professor Al Rodi has been named interim dean of the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science. A search for a permanent dean is underway. (UW Photo)

(Laramie, Wyo.) — University of Wyoming Professor Al Rodi will lead UW’s College of Engineering and Applied Science while the search for a new dean moves ahead.

Rodi today (Thursday) assumes the position of interim dean from Khaled Gasem, who moves to UW’s engineering faculty after completing his time in the interim position June 30.

“We appreciate the work Dr. Gasem has done to move the college forward, and we’re happy Professor Rodi has stepped up to provide interim leadership while the dean search advances,” says UW President Dick McGinity “There is great excitement about the efforts that are underway to raise the profile of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and strong leadership is a key to make that happen.”

After graduating from the University of Chicago with B.S (1965) and M.S. (1969) degrees in geophysical science, Rodi came to UW in 1977 to work with the university’s newly acquired King Air research aircraft and obtain his Ph.D. in atmospheric science, joining the faculty of the Department of Atmospheric Science in 1981. He was promoted to associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1993. Previously, Rodi worked at the Research Aviation Facility at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where he instrumented aircraft to support the atmospheric science community.

Rodi currently teaches graduate courses in physical meteorology, instrumentation and research ethics, and has mentored many master’s and doctoral students. He has published primarily in the area of cloud physics and airborne-observing technology based on his work with the Wyoming King Air research aircraft.

He became the chief scientist on the King Air from 1993-1998, director of the University’s Flight Center in 1998 and has been head of the Department of Atmospheric Science since 1998. Since 1999, Rodi has been the principal investigator on the cooperative agreements between UW and the National Science Foundation that funds the aircraft and its staff as a U.S. national facility that is part of NSF’s Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities.

The most recent five-year UW/NSF cooperative agreement was funded for $9.5 million to support operations through 2019.

McGinity leads the search for a new dean, assisted by the executive search firm Korn Ferry. He says a search committee has been selected and will move forward to review candidates soon, with a new dean identified by the end of the fall semester. The committee includes UW faculty and staff members inside and outside the College of Engineering and Applied Science, along with people from outside the university.

With guidance from the Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force — and funding from the Legislature, the governor and private donors — the College of Engineering and Applied Science is working to upgrade its programs and facilities, with a goal of reaching the top level of the country’s engineering schools. The engineering initiative involves recruitment of top students and faculty members; formation of high-performing research clusters in areas of importance to the state’s economy; an increase in the number of Ph.D. graduates; expansion of the college’s research output; interdisciplinary work with other colleges and departments at UW; and strong ties with industry partners.