Earthquake Researcher, Engineering Administrator Appointed Interim Dean of Cockrell School
Sept. 4, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas — Sharon L. Wood has been appointed interim dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering.
Wood, a structural engineer and chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, will assume her new role Oct. 1. She replaces Gregory L. Fenves, who will become the university’s new executive vice president and provost next month.
“The Cockrell School of Engineering will be in the hands of a distinguished and skillful leader as Sharon Wood assumes her responsibilities as interim dean,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Steven Leslie. “She has been an integral part of the Cockrell leadership team and has the research and administrative acumen to continue to propel the school in developing engineering leaders for tomorrow.”
A national search for a permanent dean will be launched this month and led by Fenves.
Wood, who is the first female dean at the school and was its first female department chair, has been nationally recognized for her research on earthquake-resistant structures. Earlier this year she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer, and will be inducted Oct. 6.
Wood currently serves as vice president of the American Concrete Institute. She has served on federal advisory committees for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and the U.S. Geological Survey. Wood’s administrative experience at the university also includes directing the Cockrell School’s Phil M. Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory, one of the nation’s leading research centers in the large-scale study of the behavior of bridges, buildings and structural components.
“The Cockrell School is on a great trajectory given our recent efforts to recruit new faculty and improve the student experience,” said Wood. “I plan to continue the initiatives that Dean Fenves has begun and explore new ways to improve and evolve our educational and research priorities, especially the development of the Engineering Education and Research Center.”
Wood joined the Cockrell School faculty in 1996 and holds the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering No. 14. Prior to that, she served on the civil engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 10 years. Wood is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute and received the Henry L. Kennedy Award in 2006 for outstanding technical and administrative contributions to the institute.
She received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia in 1982 and her master’s degree and doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1983 and 1986, respectively.