Michael Symans to serve as new Associate Head for Academic Affairs in Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michael Symans has been named the new Associate Head for Academic Affairs in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), effective July 1, 2020. Over the past twelve years, Symans served as the School of Engineering Accreditation Director for the civil engineering program, successfully shepherding the program through two cycles of accreditation review by ABET, the world’s leading accreditation body for engineering and technology programs. In his new role as associate head, Symans will expand his service to the institute by serving as the Graduate Program Director and Degree Clearance Officer for the CEE Department and as a member of the School of Engineering Curriculum Committee.
Michael Symans was previously a professor at Washington State University and has been at RPI since 2001. He earned his Ph.D. (1995) in civil engineering at the University at Buffalo. His research interests encompass multiple areas of structural engineering with an emphasis on structural dynamics and earthquake-resistant design. His work on these topics has included advanced computational simulations of the seismic response of structures along with full-scale testing of multi-story buildings on seismic shaking tables to validate simulation results. He is the author of over 100 scholarly publications, has been a speaker at numerous conferences in the U.S. and abroad, and has secured funding to support his research and education efforts through more than 20 grants. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering honor society. He served for many years on the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Universities for Research on Earthquake Engineering (CUREE), as the Chair of the ASCE Technical Administrative Committee for Analysis and Computation and on the Executive Committee of Chi Epsilon where he currently serves as the national vice president. In addition, he is a former member of the editorial board of the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering. At RPI, Symans teaches courses in matrix structural analysis, nonlinear structural analysis, structural dynamics and earthquake engineering. He is the recipient of the Chi Epsilon Northeast District Excellence in Teaching Award and has been a nominee for the Rensselaer School of Engineering Teaching Award for Excellence in Classroom Instruction.