Fairfield University Names Two Professional School Deans

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Following extensive national searches, Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Connecticut, has named Deans for two of its professional schools. Donald E. Gibson, Ph.D., has been named dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, and Bruce W. Berdanier, Ph.D., has been named dean of the School of Engineering.

“Dr. Gibson and Dr. Berdanier each bring vision, talent, experience, and energy that will build on an already strong foundation in our professional schools of business and engineering,” said Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.

Following extensive national searches, Fairfield University has named Deans for two of its professional schools – the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, and the School of Engineering.

Donald E. Gibson, Ph.D., interim dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business for nearly two years, has been named dean of the business school.

"I look forward to leading the Dolan School toward our goal of educating students to be ethical business leaders for a global future," said Dr. Gibson. "We have a strong faculty and engaged students, creating a learning community infused by Jesuit values.”

A Trumbull, Conn., resident, Dr. Gibson will lead a school that continues to experience impressive growth. The School features a world-class faculty engaging in intriguing scholarship with experience from a wide array of industries, and counts among its alumni prominent business leaders at top financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies. Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and Bloomberg Business Week list the School among the best business programs in the U.S.

Dr. Gibson came to Fairfield in 2001. In 2008, he was named chair of the management department. Before joining Fairfield, he taught organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. He received an MBA and Ph.D. from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a master's in radio and television from San Francisco State University, and a bachelor's in administrative studies from the University of California, Riverside.

His research interests include the attributes and impact of organizational role models, anger and aggression in workplace conflict, and the management of individual emotional experience in organizations. Dr. Gibson has served in various leadership positions on professional boards and is currently on the executive committee of the International Association for Conflict Management.

Bruce W. Berdanier, Ph.D., professor and department head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at South Dakota State University (SDSU), has been appointed dean of the School of Engineering.

Keenly aware of the power of engineers to transform a society, Dr. Berdanier has a history of putting his talents to work in service to others. He has extensive experience in service learning initiatives and international service-oriented engineering projects. For the past 15 years, he has been involved in engineering research and service projects in Haiti, has participated as a Fulbright Research Scholar in Jordan, and started an active Engineers Without Borders chapter at SDSU, working with students to design and implement a water treatment system in Bolivia.

Dr. Berdanier said he’s excited to take on a leadership role at Fairfield. “To be part of the School of Engineering that wants to address the grand challenges facing our society in the context of trying to find better answers while serving the needs of the world is such a value added proposition for everyone involved.”

Dr. Berdanier received a BSCE from Ohio State University, an MSCE in Environmental Engineering from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Hydrogeology from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining SDSU in 2008, he held various positions at Ohio Northern University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

In addition to having spent the past 17 years in academia, Dr. Berdanier managed his own consulting engineering company, Village Engineering, Ltd., from 1983 – 2007. The focus of his research and consulting relates to the distribution and interactions of various chemical compounds in studies of surface water quality and in municipal wastewater treatment. He served as city engineer in Shelby, Ohio, from 1992 to 1996.

Dr. Berdanier joins a growing school at Fairfield known for its small-classes and its laboratory settings, and as a place to collaborate closely with seasoned faculty and industry leaders who serve as capstone and internship mentors. Fairfield’s SOE was recently re-accredited by ABET. Two years ago, it established the Clare Boothe Luce Professorship for a woman scholar in the discipline of mechanical engineering – now the largest department within the school. The overall goal of the School of Engineering is to graduate career ready, socially responsible engineers.

Fairfield University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., said of the appointments, “I am delighted with the selection of Dr. Gibson and Dr. Berdanier to lead our professional schools of business and engineering: one a respected member of the community for some time; the other a new face! Each brings vision, talent, experience, and energy that will build on an already strong foundation in these areas, including outstanding faculty, engaged students, and a dynamic curriculum. With the new deans in place, we are poised to advance our strategic plan to become a model of integrated learning across schools and disciplines, and to prepare our students holistically for success in their careers and in life.”

Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, mmccaffrey(at)fairfield(dot)edu

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Michael Horyczun
Fairfield University
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