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Department of Civil Engineering Chair Arup Maji Appointed Interim Dean of Engineering at UNM

May 20, 2009

majiProvost Suzanne Ortega has appointed Arup Maji, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering as interim dean of the School of Engineering at UNM. Maji’s appointment will begin in July 2009, when Dean Joe Cecchi returns to the faculty. Maji has served as chair of Civil Engineering since 2005. He has been a professor at UNM since 1988.

“I am very pleased that Professor Maji has agreed to accept the interim position,” said Ortega. “He is more than qualified to lead the School of Engineering though this period of transition.”

Maji's research interests include advanced composites, space-based sensors, blast-resistant materials and structural design and nondestructive evaluation.

During his tenure at UNM Maji also held the position of “Senior Research Scientist” at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque on a half-time basis from 1995-2005. In that capacity he served as the Air Force program manager in the area of lightweight optical structures and led a team of industry-university-NASA experts as program manager on the $20 million Advanced Mirror System Demonstrator (AMSD) program.

The ultra-lightweight mirrors developed in the program are currently being manufactured for use on the James Webb Telescope to replace the Hubble Space Telescope. He also assisted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on enhancing the safety of nuclear power plants through a joint project with the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Maji has a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from Northwestern University, and is completing a MBA in Finance at UNM. He is also a registered professional engineer in New Mexico. During his tenure as department chair, the number of students enrolled in Civil Engineering courses have increased by 25 percent, and the average annual research expenditure has increased by approximately 50 percent. Throughout his tenure as a professor at UNM, his students have consistently rated his courses near the top of the scale.

Maji noted, “It is an honor to lead the School of Engineering through a period of transition and serve the institution that gave me an opportunity for a wonderful career and family 21 years ago.”

A national search for a permanent dean will be launched later this fall and is expected to take about a year.