The University of California, Merced, today announced the appointment of E. Daniel Hirleman as the new dean of its School of Engineering , effective Oct. 1.
Hirleman will take over for Mark Matsumoto, who has served as interim dean since April. Matsumoto replaced Thomas Harmon, who served as acting dean for three months following the December resignation of Jeff Wright, founding dean of the School of Engineering.
"We are exceedingly pleased to bring in Dr. Hirleman as our new dean of Engineering," said Steve Kang, UC Merced chancellor. "His track record exhibits the kind of interdisciplinary focus and entrepreneurialism that is so needed at a growing university, and he will truly be an asset to our engineering faculty and students.
"I also want to extend my thanks to Dr. Matsumoto for his leadership and continued service to UC Merced until the transition comes."
Hirleman has served as the head of Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering  since 1999. During that time, he's helped expand the school's faculty and student body, double its Ph.D. graduation rate and vastly increase its scholarship and fellowship distribution and put the school on a strong financial footing. He was also able to increase the quality of the school's undergraduate students while also expanding enrollment.
Hirleman is the founding director of GlobalHub.org , an international cyber-community of students, faculty and practitioners interested in global engineering and global citizenship, and is chair of the Engineers for a Sustainable World  advisory board. He founded the Global Engineering Program at Purdue in 2005, and he's been active in student advising and community service at all stops during his career.
"Dr. Hirleman has done a remarkable job during his time at Purdue's School of Mechanical Engineering," said Keith Alley, executive vice chancellor and provost. "He brings a spirit of collaboration and openness we value so highly at UC Merced. His drive and determination will continue to build UC Merced's reputation for academic excellence, cutting-edge research and public service to the citizens of California."
Hirleman's own research has been highly interdisciplinary, often incorporating both engineering and biology. He has more than 170 technical publications; an edited book; 60 invited lectures in 10 countries; and five patents. His current research focuses on food safety via rapid detection of food-borne pathogens, and he said he can see many opportunities for collaborative research  both on and off campus at UC Merced.
A Wichita, Kan., native, Hirleman earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Purdue in the 1970s. He was a professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Arizona State University for more than two decades, eventually becoming vice chair of the department and then associate dean of research for the College of Engineering. His global outlook on engineering has been enhanced by his time in visiting positions and fellowships in Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and China.
He said he was inspired by UC Merced's signature commitment to sustainability  — both in its faculty's research and in its own construction and operations — and to interdisciplinary research. He was also drawn by the university's unique challenge of building a research university worthy of the University of California name while creating a transformative, large-scale engineering education model uniquely targeted to the 21st century students and their needs.
"I'm thrilled to be joining a university system with such a remarkable history of academic achievement while also taking part in the inspiring growth of a new campus," Hirleman said. "My predecessors and the faculty at UC Merced have built a strong foundation for the School of Engineering, and I look forward to the exciting challenge of continuing in their footsteps."
Hirleman's compensation package will include an annual salary of $256,000, along with the following additional items: