Mechanical engineering school welcomes first woman chair

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 The Cockrell School of Engineering appointed a woman to chair the mechanical engineering department for the first time.

Jayathi Murthy will come to UT in January, leaving her post as director of Purdue University’s Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems.

“I hope to bring expertise in interdisciplinary research,” Murthy said. “I also have a background in small business, so I hope to bring expertise in the commercialization of advanced research.”

Murthy said she has been looking for an opportunity to test her ideas with interdisciplinary research and cyber learning.

“I think it makes students far more competitive in the workplace because the kinds of work that people are required to do is interdisciplinary and so we have to learn the languages of all these other disciplines,” Murthy said.

Gregory Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering, said the committee appointed Murthy because she was “by far the best candidate for the position.”

“She had a vision for the future of mechanical engineering and we think where we need to be going very much aligned with what her vision was,” Fenves said.