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University of California Santa Barbara

Memos to Campus

Appointment of New Dean of Engineering Rod Alferness

April 14, 2011

TO THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY
 
Dear Colleagues:
 
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Rod C. Alferness as the next Dean of our College of Engineering, effective September 1, 2011, pending approval by President Yudof and the Regents. In this position Dr. Alferness will hold the Richard A. Auhll Professorship and Dean's Chair in Engineering.
 
Dr. Alferness joined Bell Labs in 1976 after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. His early research focused on the invention and demonstration of a family of waveguide electro-optic devices and circuits -- including switch/modulators, optical switch arrays, and tunable wavelength switch/filters -- and their applications in high-capacity lightwave transmission and switching systems. This research led to the early development of high-speed, titanium-diffused lithium niobate waveguide optical modulators, which provide the signal-encoding engine in fiber optic transmission systems that underpin the global Internet. Dr. Alferness was also active in early semiconductor photonic circuits research, where he focused on very broadly wavelength-tunable lasers and wavelength-selective circuits.
 
Later his interests moved to networks, where he was an originator and the Bell Labs' Principal Investigator for the DARPA-funded, multi-company MONET consortium program that demonstrated the feasibility of reconfigurable wavelength-routed optical networks. Dr. Alferness spent several years as Chief Technical Officer for Bell Labs' parent company, Lucent Technologies, transferring that technology to the business unit. Commercial implementations are now deployed in both metropolitan and cross-country networks worldwide.
 
As Senior Vice President of Research at Bell Labs, Dr. Alferness had overall responsibility for Bell Labs' global research laboratories. In December 2007 he was appointed Chief Scientist of Bell Labs, overseeing long-term strategy, government and university partnerships, and technical excellence programs.
 
Dr. Alferness is an active member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is a Fellow of IEEE and of the Optical Society of America (OSA). He received the 2005 IEEE Photonics Award and the 2010 OSA Leadership Award. He has served as President of the Optical Society of America and President of the IEEE Photonics Society, and as Editor of the IEEE/OSA-sponsored Journal of Lightwave Technology.
 
I would like to thank Professors Edward Kramer and Linda Petzold, co-chairs of our search advisory committee, and all of our committee members for their excellent work. The members of the committee are listed below. I would also like to thank EVC Gene Lucas, our Academic Senate colleagues, and all the members of our campus community who provided valuable input and advice throughout this search and recruitment process.
 
UC Santa Barbara is very proud of our outstanding College of Engineering, and we are confident that the College will continue to thrive and achieve new heights of excellence under Dr. Alferness's leadership. I hope you will join me in extending a warm welcome to Rod and his wife, Deanna, when they join our campus community in September.
 
I would also like to take this opportunity to express our campus's sincere appreciation to Professor Larry Coldren for his exemplary contributions as our Acting Dean. We are deeply grateful for his dedication and leadership during this interim period.
 
Sincerely,
 
Henry T. Yang
Chancellor

 
Search Advisory Committee for the Dean of Engineering

 
Edward Kramer, Co-Chair; Professor of Materials and Chemical Engineering
Linda Petzold, Co-Chair; Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science
 
Tim Cheng, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Amr El Abbadi, Professor and Chair of Computer Science
Herbert Kroemer, Donald W. Whittier Chair in Electrical Engineering; Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Materials
L. Gary Leal, Warren & Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering
Carlos Levi, Professor of Materials and Mechanical Engineering
Robert McMeeking, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials
Umesh Mishra, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sumita Pennathur, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Juli Pippin, Staff Representative; Assistant Dean for Budget and Administration, College of Engineering
Tresa Pollock, Professor of Materials
Pierre Wiltzius, Susan and Bruce Worster Dean of Science and Professor of Physics
 
Consultant to the Committee:
Ricardo Alcaíno, Director of Office of Equal Opportunity