Professor Reginald DesRoches Named Dean’s Professor

Dr. Reginald DesRoches, associate chair and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), has been named Dean’s Professor of the College of Engineering (CoE) at Georgia Tech. According to Don Giddens, dean of the College of Engineering, "The designation of Dean's Professor is rare and is intended to honor young, up and coming full professors who are rising stars. Reggie's outstanding work in earthquake engineering and seismic design; his humanitarian efforts following the earthquake in Haiti and other regions; and his exceptional level of teaching and research make him extremely worthy of this honor."

Criteria for the designation of Dean's Professor include outstanding scholarship, dedication to education, and excellence in service at Institutional and national/international levels. Special considerations are given to those who exhibit a commitment to applications of engineering to improve society. Nominations are submitted by CoE school chairs, and an ad hoc committee is appointed to evaluate the nominees’ credentials and ultimately make a recommendation to the dean.

DesRoches was nominated by Dr. Joseph B. Hughes, Karen and John Huff School Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Hughes states, “Dr. DesRoches is exactly the type of faculty member who deserves to be awarded this position.  His career is on an incredible trajectory, he has won numerous awards for teaching and scholarship, he has demonstrated a commitment to translate his expertise into service to help others in need, and he has shown exemplary leadership within CEE.  This is a prestigious honor and Dr. DesRoches is deeply deserving.  It is an honor to serve on the faculty with him, and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to nominate him for this distinction."The Dean’s Professor designation carries with it an annual discretionary fund for a five-year period to enhance professional development.

Dr. DesRoches has been a key technical leader in the U.S. response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  He led a team of 28 engineers, architects, city planners, and social scientists to study the impact of this disaster with the goal of informing Haitian government officials on resilient and sustainable methods of reconstruction. He continues to assist the Haitian government and U.S. agencies with rebuilding efforts within the country.

His research interests include seismic design of buildings and bridges, seismic risk assessment of lifeline systems, and the application of innovative materials in the rehabilitation of structures.  Currently, his primary research focuses on seismic resistant design and retrofit of bridges, and structural applications of smart materials as protective systems.

As a direct result of this work, Dr. DesRoches has earned numerous awards and honors. Some of these include the 2001 NSF CAREER award; the 2002 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); a two-time invitee to the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineers program (2004, 2009); the 2007 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research prize; the 2008 Georgia Tech ANAK Award for outstanding research, teaching, and service; the 2010 Georgia Tech Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor award; and the 2010 Subaru Professor of Excellence award. He is very active within technical organizations, having served as chair of the ASCE Seismic Effects Committee (2006-2010), and chair of the executive committee of the Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (2010).  Currently, he serves as a member of both the executive committee of the National Academy of Sciences Disasters Roundtable, and the advisory board for the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).  

He has published more than 200 technical papers and reports in the general area of structural and earthquake engineering, and he is extremely dedicated to the teaching and learning of his students. To date, he has graduated fifteendoctoral students, six of whom hold faculty appointments (Clemson University, Rice University, Texas A&M, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, , and Hongik University in Korea), as well as twelve M.S. thesis students. Two of these former phd students and one former post-doc are recipients of the NSF CAREER award, and six former and/or current students have earned the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. He has also served as advisor to more than 25 undergraduate students.

Dr. DesRoches was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and grew up in Queens, NY.  He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. in Civil Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering – all from the University of California, Berkeley.