Penn has reappointed Vijay Kumar as the Nemirovsky Family Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science through June 2027.
Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett announced the reappointment in an email to the Penn community on May 25, citing Kumar’s successful contributions to the school — including his Penn Engineering 2020 strategic plan for increasing growth and innovation — as reasons for his reappointment. Kumar was named Engineering dean in 2015 and, since then, the Engineering School has seen an increase in cross-school course offerings for interdisciplinary subjects, offered tenure to over 40 professors, and approved several programs and installations that will serve to broaden opportunities for students across the University, Gutmann wrote.
"We believe that Dean Kumar is exceptionally well-positioned to lead Penn Engineering through an exciting period of growth and as it continues its ascent to international preeminence," Gutmann wrote.
In an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian on May 31, Kumar wrote that, in his upcoming term, he hopes to continue to promote diversity and inclusion, accelerate impact through creating collaborative environments, and empower students through the construction of design studios and strengthening of online learning resources.
"The world needs more engineers, and I am proud to be Dean of a school that graduates outstanding engineers who are poised to have a tremendous impact on the world," Kumar wrote.
Kumar's reappointment was recommended by a Consultative Review Committee chaired by Wharton School Dean Erika James, Gutmann wrote in the email. The committee interviewed faculty, students, and alumni as well as reviewed data related to Kumar's work as Dean to make its determination.
"The [Engineering] School’s response to the pandemic was nothing short of heroic," Gutmann wrote.
Kumar’s first term also coincided with the inception of the Penn Center for Health, Devices, and Technology, a center that works towards developing novel medical equipment, in 2017. This collaboration with Penn Medicine was employed heavily throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, Kumar was appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his work on collaborative robot networks and their potential to form teams that can accomplish goals that no single robot could alone.
Kumar has also given multiple TED Talks on cooperative drone networks which have garnered over 5 million views. This has prompted him to create TEDxPenn, a local incarnation of the conference that is independently organized by the University.
“I see a bright future for Penn Engineering and for Penn and it is a privilege to help drive this future,” Kumar wrote to the DP.