Laurence J. Jacobs, associate dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and professor of civil and environmental engineering and mechanical engineering, will serve as interim dean of the College of Engineering.
Jacobs will officially assume the role on July 1 when current dean Gary May leaves to become the chancellor of the University of California, Davis.
Jacobs has served as associate dean for Academic Affairs since 2007, acting as a key administrator for all undergraduate and graduate academic programs in the College. He also has developed programs related to innovation in undergraduate education and managed a range of assessment programs.
“We thank Dr. Jacobs for his continued leadership and service to Georgia Tech and the College of Engineering,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “His long-standing academic career as both a scholar and an administrator will serve the Institute and the College well during this transition.”
Jacobs served as the associate chair for undergraduate programs for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech from 1995 to 2007. He received a joint appointment with the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering in 2003. His research interests include development of measurement techniques for the quantitative nondestructive evaluation of infrastructure materials, nonlinear acoustics for damage characterization, and life prediction in structural materials.
He has authored or co-authored more than 250 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings and is a past associate editor of ASCE's Journal of Engineering Mechanics. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is currently on the editorial board of Non-Destructive Testing and Evaluation (NDT&E) International. His research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Georgia Department of Transportation, Exxon-Mobil, the Electric Power Research Institute, and GE. Jacobs has an established record of recruiting and advising students, including 20 Ph.D. students and 56 M.S. thesis students.
Jacobs received his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Columbia University. Before that, he worked for two years in the aerospace industry and one year as a structural engineer. After earning his Ph.D., he worked for a year as an Office of Naval Technology postdoctoral fellow before joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 1988.
Jacobs will serve until a new dean is named. A 15-member search advisory committee comprised of faculty, staff, and the current undergraduate and graduate student body presidents is currently meeting to conduct a national and international search for the College’s next leader.
Julia Kubanek, associate dean for research in the College of Sciences, professor of biological sciences, and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, chairs the committee. Jennifer Herazy, associate provost for operations, will serve as search director.