Iowa State University selects three new deans

AMES, Iowa -- Following national searches to fill dean posts in its colleges of Design, Engineering and Human Sciences, Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy has announced the successful candidates who will lead those colleges.

Luis Rico-Gutierrez, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and David Lewis Director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, will become dean of the College of Design at Iowa State University effective July 1.

He succeeds Mark Engelbrecht, who will step down June 30 after serving as dean since 1994.

Jonathan Wickert, ISU mechanical engineering chair and the Larry and Pam Pithan Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will become dean of the College of Engineering effective July 1.

Wickert succeeds Mark J. Kushner, who resigned last September to join the faculty at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. James Bernard, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering, has served as interim dean.

Pam White, University Professor of food science and human nutrition and interim dean of the College of Human Sciences, will become permanent dean effective April 16. She succeeds Cheryl Achterberg, who left Iowa State last June for a dean position at The Ohio State University, Columbus.

"We are extremely pleased with the exceptional quality of the three new deans we have appointed," said ISU President Gregory Geoffroy. "Luis Rico-Gutierrez brings outstanding experience, administrative ability, enthusiasm and energy to the College of Design, and we look forward to him joining Iowa State University. Jonathan Wickert and Pam White have served Iowa State very well as faculty members and administrators, and they have already demonstrated their superior leadership. They are excellent choices for deans of our colleges of Engineering and Human Sciences, respectively."

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Hoffman added, "I believe we have added three outstanding scholars and leaders to Iowa State's senior leadership team. Each is well positioned to provide vision and leadership as we develop and implement a new strategic plan for Iowa State."

Background on each of the three new deans follows:


Rico-Gutierrez has been associate dean of CMU's College of Fine Arts since 2001. From 2001 to 2006, he also was chair of the steering committee for the Studio for Creative Inquiry, a multidisciplinary arts research center within the college. From 2001 to 2004, Rico-Gutierrez served as associate head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon, where he has been on the faculty since 1996.

Rico-Gutierrez's research includes the use of information technology in the design process and grassroots participatory practice in urban design. He chairs the innovation and new directions task force of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and is a trustee on the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

Rico-Gutierrez was a professor in the School of Architecture at ITESM, Queretaro, Mexico, from 1993 to 1996; and manager of the architecture department at Fundacion Rafael Leoz, Madrid, Spain, from 1991 to 1993. He is professionally accredited in Mexico and Spain.

He earned his bachelor's degree in architecture (1986) from ITESM, Mexico, and a graduate degree (1988) from Fundacion Rafael Leoz, Spain. He earned a master's in building science (1997) from Carnegie Mellon.


Wickert joined Iowa State as mechanical engineering chair and the Larry and Pam Pithan Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 2007. He has encouraged an environment of excellence in the mechanical engineering department through the hiring and professional development of faculty and staff, strategic research programs, student recruiting and diversity initiatives, accessibility to new educational opportunities, and communicating with stakeholders.

Wickert is author of the textbook "An Introduction to Mechanical Engineering," which has been translated into Korean, Chinese and Portuguese. He holds two U.S. patents and has authored more than 125 papers published in archival journals and presented at technical conferences. Wickert has served as an associate editor of the Journal of Vibration and Acoustics and the Journal of Information Storage Systems, and he is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

From 1990 to 2007, Wickert was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He served as a visiting research fellow at the University of Cambridge, England; and as a visiting professor at Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. Wickert received bachelor's (1985), master's (1987) and doctoral (1989) degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.


White was named interim dean of Iowa State's College of Human Sciences on July 1, 2008. She previously served as interim dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences from 2003 to 2005, before it combined with the College of Education to become the College of Human Sciences on July 1, 2005. White continued as interim dean of the new college until Aug. 31 of that year.

White also served as interim department chair of food science and human nutrition from 1995 to 1997. Her research focuses on the oxidization of edible oils and their sensory and chemical changes, uses of antioxidants in oils, and the structure and function of soluble fiber -- all aimed at creating new and improved foods.

White is a former president of the American Oil Chemists' Society and has been recognized by that group for outstanding research accomplishments in fats and oils. She served as associate editor of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society for 14 years, and currently serves on the journal's editorial board. She was named a fellow of the American Oil Chemists' Society in 2004.

White earned bachelor's (1972) and master's (1974) degrees from the University of Washington, Seattle; and a doctorate in food technology from Iowa State in 1981. She joined the Iowa State faculty as an instructor in food science and human nutrition in 1975.