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Schwartz Named Interim Dean of MU College of Engineering

June 11th, 2014

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— University of Missouri Interim Provost Ken Dean announced today that Bob Schwartz, chief of staff and custodian of records for the UM System, has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering effective Sept. 1, 2014. Schwartz will replace James Thompson, who announced his intent to step down from the dean’s position earlier.

“Bob Schwartz brings a wealth of experience as an engineer and as an academic leader,” Dean said. “We’re very excited that he has agreed to take this incredibly important position as we implement the academic mission of the College of Engineering and MU. We know he will do a superb job building on the successes of the past while helping to position the college for the future.”

In his current role as chief of staff and custodian of records, Schwartz has served as an adviser to members of UM System leadership, including President Tim Wolfe. Schwartz has assisted in the System’s strategic planning process, coordinated with the Office of Strategic Communications in advancing the president’s statewide communications and served as a liaison with the general officers and the Board of Curators.

“MU’s College of Engineering plays a critical role in producing the STEM graduates that our state’s economy desperately needs, and it is imperative that the college continue to gain ground in achieving that mission during this interim period,” University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe said. “Dr. Schwartz’s impeccable credentials from his time in leadership roles at the University of Missouri System and at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, plus his strong engineering background, make him the perfect choice to lead the college until a permanent dean is found.”

Before joining the UM System as an administrator in April 2012, Schwartz served as interim provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at Missouri University of Science and Technology. In this leadership position, Schwartz was instrumental in budget preparations and strategic planning, student recruitment, eLearning and enhancing international partnerships. While serving as academic affairs vice provost at Missouri S&T from 2007 to 2012, Schwartz helped with the academic restructuring of the campus, enhanced corporate partnerships, established cooperative degree programs, and led campus efforts for ABET accreditation, an endorsement that requires academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology to meet certain quality standards.

Schwartz joined Missouri S&T in May 2002 as a professor of ceramic engineering and later became the associate chair of the department and served as faculty senate president. He began his career as an advanced research and development engineer at the B.F. Goodrich R&D Center and also worked as a senior member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

“The College of Engineering at MU has a rich history of research and education that has directly impacted the citizens of Missouri,” Schwartz said. “I’m thrilled to be asked to take this role and will be working with the college’s leaders to ensure that we don’t lose any progress that has been made during Dean Thompson’s 20-year leadership. This college is vital to the future of the state and the nation as we work to educate the next generation of innovators while also searching for answers to some of the world’s most difficult problems.”

Schwartz received a bachelor’s degree in science education and a master’s degree in chemistry from North Carolina State University and a doctorate in ceramic engineering from the University of Illinois. He has received numerous honors and awards, including several faculty excellence and teaching awards. He is a fellow in the American Ceramic Society, and he served on the Society’s Board of Directors.

Schwartz said he will not be a candidate for the permanent deanship. A search committee will be formed in the weeks ahead, and a national search will begin during the fall semester.