Two faculty members in the George R. Brown School of Engineering — Walter Chapman and Ann Saterbak — have been named associate deans for energy research and undergraduate education, respectively.
“The school of engineering is adding proven talent to the dean’s office with Walter and Ann,”. said Edwin L. “Ned” Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering. “We want to enhance both our energy research program and our teaching excellence.”
Chapman is the William W. Akers Professor in Chemical Engineering and formerly served as chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
“Walter has the background to know most of Rice’s research activities in the energy sector and to be effective working with industry,” Thomas said. “He worked at Shell and continues to do cutting-edge research with oil and gas companies.”
After earning his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1988, Chapman spent two years as a research engineer with Shell Development Company. He joined the Rice faculty in 1990. In 2011, Chapman received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching. Chapman’s research into properties and interfacial structure of complex fluids has applications in the energy and high-performance materials industries.
Thomas noted that software developed by Chapman, SAFT (Statistical Associated Fluid Theory), is used by many polymer companies to model the complex interactions of polymers with surfaces.
Saterbak is a professor in the practice of bioengineering education and associate chair for undergraduate affairs in the Department of Bioengineering. She earned a B.A. in chemical engineering and biochemistry from Rice in 1990 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995.
Chief among Saterbak’s goals, Thomas said, will be to improve undergraduate education in the engineering school by collaborating with faculty and staff in six key areas: undergraduate retention of engineering majors, especially among underrepresented minorities and women; nontenure track faculty teaching; identification of problem courses and troubleshooting; overall teaching excellence in the school; improved visibility of teaching excellence; and teaching assistant training.
Saterbak received the Robert G. Quinn Award (2007) and the Theo Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award (2013) from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2011) and the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2013) by the Association of Rice Alumni and the Department of Bioengineering Teaching Award (2012).
—Patrick Kurp a science writer in the George R. Brown School of Engineering.