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Dayton Engineer

School of Engineering Leadership: New Year - New Transitions

By Karen Updyke, School of Engineering

The University of Dayton has named Dr. Margaret Pinnell as School of Engineering interim dean. In turn, Dr. Kenya Crosson has been named interim associate dean for faculty and staff development by the School. Their terms begin immediately and end July 1, 2022, when a new dean will be named after a competitive, national search.

In 2000, Pinnell, professor and associate dean for faculty and staff development and Bernhard Schmidt Chair in Engineering Leadership, began her faculty appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. In 2009, she attained tenure and was promoted to professor in 2019. Pinnell also served as assistant dean for recruitment and outreach and led the ETHOS program from 2001-2010 for the School of Engineering. 

She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in materials engineering, appropriate technology, and research ethics throughout her career and is a recipient of the University’s Lackner Award as well as several teaching honors.  

In addition to active service across the School and the University, Pinnell has worked with the Dayton Regional STEM Center, Air Camp USA and was named a Blue Angels Key Influencer. Currently, she serves as the chair of the DO STEM Ecosystem, the secretary of the Arcade Innovation Hub board of directors and is on the board of the Ohio Project Kaleidoscope.

Pinnell’s research interests include K-12 STEM, professional development, community-engaged learning and experimental mechanics of materials. She has secured more than $2.1 million in external funding for her research.

"I am grateful for the especially strong pool of nominations for this appointment that emerged in recent weeks," said Provost Paul H. Benson. "The School of Engineering’s operations are healthy, its academic and research programs continue to expand, and the School’s commitment to the University’s mission and values is evident. I am impressed with the School’s dedication to its mission and strategic priorities during this period of transition. 

"I look forward with enthusiasm to working with Interim Dean Pinnell and know that she will be an effective, insightful and highly collaborative leader for the School of Engineering during the coming year."

After the interim dean announcement, the School of Engineering proposed that Dr. Kenya Crosson be named as the interim associate dean for faculty and staff development, and according to Pinnell, "Dr. Crosson has accepted the appointment."

Pinnell continued, “Dr. Crosson goes above and beyond to collaborate with other faculty and staff to ensure our key values are a part of our systems, policies, decisions and courses. She is well respected by her peers and demonstrates an ability to lead diverse faculty and staff as well as sustain a culture that supports inclusive pedagogy. She is an effective leader, scholar, instructor and engineer.” 

“I am confident that Dr. Crosson is well-prepared to assume this new role during this time of transition,” said Pinnell. 

For three years, Crosson served as the University of Dayton Learning Teaching Center’s faculty development fellow for diversity and inclusion. In this role, she helped develop several programs resulting in nineteen different events, served on three committees focused on diversity and inclusion, facilitated student film discussions about diversity in STEM and provided one-on-one faculty consultations.  

Crosson continues faculty development activities by providing workshops on inclusive teaching and anti-racism for the University community by participating in the American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional development team, and by providing workshops and webinars for the Sloan Scholars Mentoring Network’s community of graduates of the Sloan Minority Ph.D. Program who seek faculty positions in higher education institutions. Crosson also advises the American Society of Civil Engineers and Habitat for Humanity student chapters.  

Her leadership activities allow her to work collaboratively to advance institutional goals and mission within her department, the School of Engineering and the University. Crosson facilitated the strategic planning implementation team’s revisioning of the School of Engineering’s promotion and tenure policies for tenure-track faculty, lecturers, and professors of practice. She has served multiple terms on the School’s Promotion and Tenure Committee and has chaired her department’s Faculty Development Committee. 

Currently, she serves as co-chair of the Curricular and Co-Curricular Education Committee of the University Inclusive Excellence Council (UD), and co-chair of her department’s ABET committee.

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