Alec Gallimore named new dean of U-M College of Engineering

February 18, 2016

ANN ARBOR—Alec Gallimore, associate dean in the College of Engineering, has been appointed the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan. His appointment, approved Thursday by the U-M Board of Regents, is effective July 1 through June 30, 2021.

Gallimore is an Arthur F. Thurnau professor, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner professor of engineering, associate dean for academic affairs, professor of aerospace engineering and professor of applied physics. He replaces Dean David Munson who will return to the faculty June 30, after 10 years of service.

In making her recommendation, U-M Provost and Executive Vice President Martha Pollack recognized Gallimore’s demonstrated record of excellence as a scholar, educator and administrator who has dedicated his entire career to advancing the study and profession of engineering.

“Professor Gallimore is deeply committed to excellence in engineering through transformative research and educational innovation,” she said. “His experience and energy will engage the college in a strategic vision that will ensure its place among the best in the nation.”

Gallimore joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the College of Engineering in 1992 as an assistant professor. He rose through the ranks to professor with tenure in 2004.

In 2006, he was awarded an Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship for teaching excellence, and in 2015 he was appointed the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering.

“I would like to acknowledge the work Dave has done during his tenure to put the college in a great position,” Gallimore said. “I look forward to working with students, faculty and staff in the college and leading this world-class engineering college into its next chapter.”

Gallimore’s administrative experience at U-M is extensive. From 2005-2011, he served as the associate dean for academic programs and initiatives in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

From 2011-2013, he served as the associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Engineering, where he was responsible for the education and welfare of 3,300 graduate students and 200 postdoctoral students, and for overseeing a research enterprise that exceeds $200 million annually in expenditures.

In 2014, Gallimore was appointed as the associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering. In this role, he worked closely with the dean and others in the college on promotion and tenure, departmental budget reviews, space allocation, strategic planning and fundraising.

Gallimore’s primary research interests include advanced spacecraft propulsion, advanced laser- and probe-based plasma diagnostics, space plasma simulation and hypersonics.

He has extensive design, development and testing experience with a number of spacecraft electric propulsion devices including ion thrusters and Hall thrusters.

Shortly after arriving at U-M, Gallimore started the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory, where research is conducted in electric propulsion devices that provide thrust to space vehicles by converting propellant into ions that are accelerated through the application of electric and magnetic fields.

This work is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing expertise from plasma physics, electrical engineering, atomic physics, materials science and aerospace engineering. His laboratory has become a pre-eminent academic electric propulsion laboratory in the nation with 50 graduate alumni.

The students, postdoctoral fellows and research scientists at PEPL have conducted fundamental plasma physics research in support of space missions such as NASA’s Deep Space 1 and Dawn missions. Gallimore has written more than 300 journal articles and conference papers and two book chapters on this research.

Gallimore also is director of the NASA-funded Michigan Space Grant Consortium and director of the Michigan/Air Force Center of Excellence in Electric Propulsion. He has served on a number of NASA and Department of Defense boards and studies, including being a member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

Gallimore earned his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received both his Master of Arts and doctorate degrees in aerospace engineering from Princeton University.


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