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Boise State Names Next Leader for College of Engineering

By: Sherry Squires   Published 9:50 am / April 4, 2017

JoAnn Salma LightyJoAnn Slama Lighty will be the new dean of Boise State University’s College of Engineering, effective July 17.

Lighty has been serving as a division director for the National Science Foundation since October 2013. She is also professor of chemical engineering at the University of Utah and has held leadership positions in research, teaching and service.

“I am honored to lead the College of Engineering,” she said. “Building upon the college’s recognized excellence in undergraduate education and the university’s collaborative culture and innovative approaches, this is a wonderful opportunity to work with faculty, students, staff and the community to enhance and grow the college’s research and education potential.”

Lighty was selected following a national search.

“Dr. Lighty brings a wealth of experience from a top-tier public research university and as division director at the National Science Foundation,” said Martin Schimpf, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are delighted to welcome her into the Boise State family.”

As director of the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems within the Engineering Directorate at NSF, Lighty leads 16 programs focusing on chemical process systems, engineering biology, environmental engineering, and transport with a budget of $183 million. She was one of the key architects of the cross-NSF initiative, Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS), serving as co-lead of the initiative since its launch in 2015, and securing collaboration from other federal agencies.

She has been a professor at the University of Utah for 28 years, during which time she served as the chair for the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2007-2013, director of the Institute for Combustion and Energy Studies in 2004-2007, associate dean for academics in the College of Engineering in 1997-2004, and as a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, among other assignments. She earned her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the same university in 1988, and as an active researcher Lighty has been awarded more than $15 million in research funding and has more than 260 peer-reviewed publications, national report contributions and book chapters, and conference presentations.

“I look forward to working with the college’s faculty to ensure their research success, to evolve and create new research areas in the context of Boise State’s commitment to transdisciplinary research, and to elevate the visibility of the college’s outstanding contributions,” she said.

Lighty will take over leadership of Boise State’s College of Engineering from Amy Moll, who has served as dean since 2011.