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Bart Nijssen to serve as chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering


July 26, 2022

On July 26, 2022, Dean Nancy Allbritton shared the following announcement with the College of Engineering community:

Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Bart Nijssen, Allan & Inger Osberg Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering to the position of chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, effective September 1, 2022 subject to the approval of the Provost.

Bart Nijssen, Allan & Inger Osberg Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Bart Nijssen, Allan & Inger Osberg Professor

Bart is a collaborative leader dedicated to advancing inclusive excellence in civil and environmental engineering education and research. He is committed to supporting CEE community members in creating and implementing solutions for large societal problems such as climate change, natural and environmental hazards, pollution, inequality, and loss of habitat and biodiversity. An internationally recognized hydrology researcher he appreciates the important role civil and environmental engineers have to play as the builders and managers of infrastructure and in shaping the world of tomorrow. Bart brings a depth of management experience in both private industry and in academia and a vision for the future that will serve the department and college well. As the College advances critical work to build more equitable, inclusive and diverse communities, Bart is dedicated to supporting the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) work the department has advanced and sees JEDI as an integral part of CEE curriculum, both through the introduction of dedicated courses, and by incorporating JEDI elements in as many courses as possible.

Bart has been with CEE since 2011. Bart grew up in the Netherlands, and he holds a degree in Hydrology from Wageningen University. He completed his PhD at the University of Washington in 2000. Following the UW, he joined the University of Arizona as an assistant professor in Hydrology and Water Resources and in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. He spent five years in industry as a senior vice-president of 3TIER in Seattle working on forecasting and resource assessment for renewable energy projects. He now leads the UW Hydro | Computational Hydrology Group which builds tools to simulate and investigate the terrestrial hydrological cycle and uses these tools for a wide range of hydrologic research projects. The Group investigates the effects of climate change on the hydrologic cycle, perform near real-time monitoring and forecasting studies for drought and streamflow simulate the interactions between the various components of the climate system in coupled regional climate models, and develop hydrological models and analysis methods.

I would like to thank the search committee members, Eric Klavins (committee chair, ECE), Jeffrey Berman (CEE), Dan Brown (College of the Environment), Bryan Crockett (CEE), Carrie Dossick (Construction Management), Michael Motley (CEE), Jessica Ray (CEE), and Janeka Rector (COE), with support from Mickey Schulz (ECE), for their great work in engaging the department and community in the search for CEE’s next chair. I would also like to thank all who shared input and opinions with the committee and me during the selection process.

Finally, I would like to thank Laura Lowes for her outstanding service as chair — the first female chair in the department’s more than 120-year history. Since Laura’s appointment in 2017, she has strategically grown the department through the hiring of six new faculty as well as the launch of three new academic programs: the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering degree program, online Master of Science in Civil Engineering: Energy Infrastructure program, and a certificate program in earthquake engineering. Laura gracefully guided the department through the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, including remote learning and the reopening of campus. Under her leadership, the first Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed and significant advances were made to integrate diversity and inclusion into the department’s curriculum, research, operations and infrastructure. Positioning the department favorably for the future, Laura also initiated the development of a strategic plan and helped raise philanthropic support to modernize More Hall and improve teaching labs and student spaces. She oversaw all of the above while continuing her research activities and involvement in multiple NSF-funded Natural Infrastructure facilities, including CEE’s RAPID facility.  I am very happy she will continue to be a valued member of our community supporting Bart as he builds on the strong foundation Laura has put in place.

Please join me in welcoming Bart Nijssen to his new position as chair of civil and environmental engineering.

Best regards,

Nancy