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School of Engineering

Baise appointed department chair

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Professor Laurie Gaskins Baise has been appointed chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, effective September 1.
Professor Laurie Baise works with a graduate student at a computer.
Professor Laurie Baise, left, works with a graduate student in Anderson Hall.

Dean Jianmin Qu is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Laurie Baise as Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), effective September 1, 2017.

Baise received her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Her background in both civil engineering and geological sciences gives her a unique perspective on a variety of geotechnical engineering topics. Considered an expert in the regional assessment of seismic hazards, she has made significant contributions in the evaluation of earthquake site response and liquefaction hazard; she has been twice elected to the Board of the Seismological Society of America and is past president of the New England chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

In 2006, Baise was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, and, in 2008, was awarded the ASCE Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award. At Tufts, she has served as both the CEE Graduate Director and the undergraduate BSCE Director. Baise also holds a position as adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Tufts School of Engineering thanks Professor Kurt Pennell for his leadership of the CEE department. He took the helm in 2009 and since then has worked tirelessly to recruit world-class faculty members, to improve the reputation of CEE’s educational programs, and to encourage alumni participation in departmental activities. During his tenure as chair, the CEE faculty size increased by 50%, with the percentage of female faculty increasing by 120%. The CEE department also significantly improved the standing of its graduate programs in U.S. News and World Report.

Pennell increased alumni donor gifts from nine to over 100 gifts annually and established two graduate fellowships and one faculty development fund. In addition, Pennell managed several extensive laboratory renovations, including the NSF-funded, $1.6 million Environmental Sustainability Laboratory. A highly cited author and international expert in in situ remediation technologies designed to treat contaminated soil and groundwater, Pennell was recently elected fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).