Sandra Woods, a former Oregon State University environmental engineer who has led the engineering program at Colorado State University for the past seven years, was today named dean of the OSU College of Engineering.
Woods replaces Ron Adams, who stepped down as dean to lead a new initiative at OSU on industry relations as executive associate vice president for research. She will begin her new duties as dean of OSU’s College of Engineering on July 30.
Woods has been dean of Colorado State’s College of Engineering since July 1, 2006, after a one-year appointment as interim dean. She previously was on the engineering faculty at Oregon State, where she also helped launch the university’s distance and continuing education programs. Woods was on the OSU faculty from 1984 to 2001.
“Sandra Woods is an experienced and visionary leader, who directed Colorado State’s engineering program through an impressive period of growth in enrollment, research and impact,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU’s provost and executive vice president. “She also has led numerous initiatives with distance learning and graduate education and she has been an advocate for women pursuing engineering as a career. We’re delighted to bring her back to our campus.”
After graduating from Michigan State University, Woods earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from the University of Washington and joined the OSU faculty in 1984. She is an environmental engineer who specializes in the bioremediation and biotransformation of environmental contaminants, for which she received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1985.
While at OSU, Woods was honored for her teaching and also served in a variety of administrative roles, both in the College of Engineering and throughout the university. She helped launch Oregon State’s distance and continuing education programs and served as interim dean of the program in 1998–99.
In 2001, Woods was appointed head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. She served as department head until her appointment as interim dean in 2005.
As dean, she led a college with more than 2,500 students and annual research expenditures of about $63 million. Under her leadership, the college is building a $71 million interdisciplinary teaching and research facility. Other key projects have included construction of a new residence hall to house an engineering living/learning community, a new co-op program, new interdisciplinary majors, options and minors, and a novel freshman retention program.
The college received the Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network “Women in Engineering Initiative Award” for its success in improving gender diversity within the engineering program. In 2010, the Colorado section of the American Council of Engineering Companies awarded Woods the General Palmer Award as the “Outstanding Engineer in Industry” for her leadership and contributions.
As dean of OSU’s College of Engineering, Woods will take over the leadership of a college with an annual budget of $73 million, a total of 253 faculty and staff, and more than 5,200 students.
Scott Ashford has served as interim dean of OSU’s College of Engineering since Adams’ left the position.