The Virginia Tech College of Engineering has named Keith Thompson as its associate dean for academic affairs following a national search. He will begin on July 1, 2020.

Thompson will be responsible for providing leadership and support in all areas related to faculty and the matriculation of undergraduate degree seeking students, including overall academic planning and assessment, faculty hiring, development and support, enrollment management, curriculum development, and student services.

For nearly four years, Thompson has served in various leadership roles at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and was a faculty member at the university for almost 16 years. Currently, he is serving as the associate dean of operations for the university’s College of Engineering, Math, and Science and the industrial engineering program coordinator. Prior, Thompson served as the assistant dean for academic affairs and professor of engineering. Before he transitioned to Wisconsin, Thompson was a lecturer at Auburn University and Penn State University.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Thompson to the College of Engineering leadership team,” said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. “He brings tremendous leadership experience and a student-focused mindset that are extremely valuable characteristics for this role."

In this position, Thompson will work closely with Ross and her senior leadership team, providing direction in shaping the college's academic policies and practices, in sustaining academic standards, and in collaborating with other units of the college and the university in support of student and faculty academic success. Thompson will monitor and evaluate undergraduate programmatic and operational quality and effectiveness and work to realize the academic vision of the College of Engineering and establish and implement short and long-range organizational goals, objectives, and strategic plans related to the college's academic strategic vision.

"I'm excited to be joining the Virginia Tech community,” said Thompson. “I was very overwhelmed by the welcoming and collegial environment when I was interviewed. I was also struck by the immense focus on student success and look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to Virginia Tech."

Thompson's research and teaching interests focus on structural concrete mechanics, bridge engineering, and infrastructure management. His research projects have included innovative aspects of curriculum development, methods of learning assessment, retention initiatives, and academic and career success for underrepresented minority, female, and first-generation students in STEM fields.

Keith Thompson

He is also a founding member of the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education, a community of practice composed of faculty members who share a passion for infrastructure education and seeks to transform the way that civil and environmental engineering topics are taught.

Thompson holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from North Carolina State University, and a master of science and doctorate in structural engineering, both from the University of Texas at Austin.

Since 1997, Bev Watford has served the college as the associate dean for academic affairs responsible for all undergraduate activities, from recruiting to commencement. She also leads the college’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and is a nationally renowned pioneer for advancing efforts in diversity and inclusion in engineering education. In August 2019, Watford was named the college’s first associate dean of equity and engagement. 

Since her new appointment, Watford has been working in both associate dean capacities and will continue until Thompson joins the team. 

“I am deeply appreciative for the foundation that Dr. Watford has laid in academic affairs and the impact she’s made on the college during her tenure,” Ross said. “We are looking forward to enabling her to solely focus on helping the college achieve and advance inclusive excellence at various levels.”

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