Donald Webster named new chair of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Donald Webster has been appointed the new Karen and John Huff Chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. (Photo: Jess Hunt-Ralston)
Donald Webster will be the new Karen and John Huff Chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, effective May 1. Webster has been a professor in the School since 1997 and served as a member of the leadership team since 2007.
 

By Kay Kinard, College of Engineering

The Georgia Tech College of Engineering announced March 14 that Donald Webster will be the new Karen and John Huff School Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He takes over May 1.

Webster is currently a professor and the School’s associate chair for finance and administration. He’s served on the Georgia Tech faculty since 1997.

“Without a doubt, Don is the very best person to lead the School at this time,” said Steve McLaughlin, dean of the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair. “Not only is he a dynamic researcher and highly regarded educator, Don has also been a champion of new teaching methodologies in the School. He has the vision, scholarship, experience, temperament, and outstanding reputation in fields critical to civil and environmental engineering that make him ideally suited and prepared to lead.”

Career Highlights for Donald Webster. Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley Georgia Tech Faculty Member since 1997   In the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Associate Chair for Administration and Finance, 2013-2018 Associate Chair for Grad Programs, 2012-2013 Associate Chair for Undergrad Programs, 2007-2012   Fellow, Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography Editorial Board, Experiments in Fluids (2006-present) Co-Chair, American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics 2018 National Meeting Member of Tech’s Commission on Creating the Next in Education   Research: Environmental fluid mechanics, especially the influence of fluid motion and turbulence on biological systems. Defined the area of “ecological fluid mechanics,” which addresses the role of fluid motion, flow gradients, and chemical stirring in shaping organism behavior, interactions, recruitment, reproduction and community structure.As the new chair, Webster will oversee a program consistently ranked as one of the nation's most prominent in both graduate and undergraduate education. The School, originally established in 1898, has become one of the largest civil and environmental engineering programs in the country with more than 1,100 students and 50 faculty members.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the next chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I greatly look forward to working with our outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni to extend our long tradition of excellence,” Webster said.

“This is an exciting time for higher education and the civil and environmental engineering profession. Our programs are uniquely positioned to inspire and empower our people to solve some of the world’s most-pressing challenges and create engineering solutions at the interface of the built and natural worlds to improve people’s lives.”

Webster earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. His primary research interests lie in environmental fluid mechanics, with an emphasis on the influence of fluid motion and turbulence on biological systems. His work has been featured in the New York Times and dozens of other news outlets. He is a fellow of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography and has served on the editorial board of the journal Experiments in Fluids for more than a decade.

Webster has won a number awards, including the Class of 1934 Outstanding Innovative Use of Education Technology Award, the Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award, and the British Petroleum Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

He has been a member of Georgia Tech’s Commission on Creating the Next in Education, including chairing a discovery group and co-chairing an ideation group. Webster is currently co-chairing the organizing committee for the 2018 American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting, where more than 3,000 researchers are expected.