“Driven by optimism and caffeine.” That’s how one friend of new R.B. Annis School of Engineering Associate Dean and Director Dr. Kenneth Reid described him.
“I love that! I’m definitely an optimist,” Reid said. “I want to strive for consensus as we move forward. If we can foster an environment that is supportive, the program will grow and succeed.”
Reid holds degrees in Computer and Electrical Engineering (BS) from Purdue University, Electrical Engineering (MS) from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and Engineering Education (PhD) from Purdue. “I believe this combination is ideal to lead the R.B. Annis School of Engineering forward—an appreciation of the technical content of engineering and an understanding of how to design and run a program where students will learn,” Reid said.
He begins his position at the University of Indianapolis with a wealth of experience in higher education, having served as a faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ohio Northern University, and most recently, Virginia Tech where he also served as the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs.
Reid and his family lived in Indiana for 17 years, raising their sons along the way. After moving away to take a faculty position at Ohio Northern University, he didn’t expect to be back. “I can honestly say [moving back] is a surprise,” he said.
It may have been a surprise, but it was no accident. Reid has worked at large research-focused institutions over the past six years, with incoming first-year engineering cohorts numbering more than 2,000 students. So when the opportunity to lead UIndy’s School of Engineering presented itself, he saw it as an opportunity to make a more personal impact with students. “I had experience at a smaller, private university in the past and remembered the chance to work with students as individuals, where you can really make a difference in a student’s life,” he said.
“UIndy also has a young, energetic and innovative engineering program, and the chance to help it grow and thrive, and build it to the point where other programs hope to emulate what we do is a challenge I welcome!”
Reid has several goals as he begins leadership of the engineering program at UIndy. “The overarching goal is to grow the program and increase visibility,” he said. Reid hopes to accomplish this by exposing the program—especially aspects like the DesignSpine curriculum with emphasis on hands-on, real-world problem solving—to more high school students, parents and teachers. “I want to do my best to ensure that each student who comes to UIndy for engineering achieves success, and that we do all we can to help each person succeed,” Reid said. If the School of Engineering is able to do that, then he believes that will facilitate success for the entire team of faculty and staff in the engineering program.
Beginning this post during a pandemic is no easy task, and one that Reid realizes will impact students, staff and faculty alike. “This has forced us to look seriously at what it means to go to class, what it means to work in a team, how we communicate, and so on,” he said. “Our faculty are awesome, and they’ve worked hard to design and deliver courses that will work for students.”
“When we start to get back to normal, I think we’ll uncover some innovation we were forced to discover. We will do it right—we will design what works best for student success.”