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USC names new dean of Engineering and Computing

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Published Nov. 10, 2015

A new dean has been hired at the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing.

Hossein Haj-Hariri and Pam Norris at UVa Aerospace Laboratory amblertony - Copy headshot web
Haj-Hariri Ambler
Hossein Haj-Hariri, a MIT-trained scientist, who previously served as professor and chairman of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia, was appointed dean on Tuesday. He begins his new job in January.

Haj-Hariri succeeds Tony Ambler, who has accepted a new position in the USC Office of Economic Engagement.

Haj-Hariri will lead critical research efforts in areas such as energy, cyber security, aerospace and materials.

The university’s emphasis on high quality teaching and commitments with industry partnerships, such as the McNair Center’s recent aerospace research deal with Boeing, makes the job attractive, Haj-Hariri said.

“I’m very impressed that the university and the state have a desire to work together, and that the university is viewed as an engine that can grow the economy. That’s not always the case in other states,” he said.

A native of Iran, Haj-Hariri earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT.  He joined the University of Virginia in 1988 and also served as a visiting faculty member at Arizona State University and Stanford University.

“Dr. Haj-Hariri has a distinguished record in teaching, research and forging partnerships with industry,” said USC Provost Joan Gabel. “I am confident he will provide the leadership needed to continue the College of Engineering and Computing’s tradition of producing important research and preparing students for rewarding careers in high-demand fields.”

USC’s College of Engineering and Computing has more than 110 faculty in five departments and serves approximately 2,700 students— 2,200 undergraduates, and more than 500 graduate students. It is dedicated to advancing innovative research and providing students with the skills they need to compete in high-demand technical fields. As the new dean, Haj-Hariri succeeds Tony Ambler, who has assumed a new role with USC’s Office of Economic Engagement.

Haj-Hariri’s own research is in the field of fluid dynamics, which has many practical applications in the aerospace field. The holder of numerous patents, he focuses on the way different animals and fish, such as manta rays, move through fluids. “There is great efficiency in nature. If we can better understand it, we can perhaps improve upon it and apply to real world problems,” he said.

Ambler has served as dean at the University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing since 2011. Prior to that, he was a professor and chairman of the department of electrical and computer engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

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