The School of Engineering is delighted to welcome Dr. Mun Choi as Dean, effective January 2008. UConn Provost Dr. Peter Nicholls announced Dr. Choi’s appointment, the culmination of an extensive national search, in early July. Dr. Erling Smith will continue as Interim Dean through the end of 2007.
During interviews and campus visits, Dr. Choi was impressed with the University culture and focus on both research and instructional distinction. “The excellent reputation of the faculty and their scholarly activities, the high quality of undergraduate and graduate students, the strong commitments from the upper administration, and active and loyal alumni groups were important elements that attracted me to UConn,” said Dr. Choi.
“The School of Engineering at UConn is poised to become one of the premier institutions in the country and will develop leadership in critical areas of emerging research and innovative academic programs,” he remarked.
Dr. Choi received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in 1989 and 1992, respectively, in the field of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He currently serves as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering, and as Department Head of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, both at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Before joining Drexel in 2000, Dr. Choi held academic and administrative appointments at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He also conducted post-doctoral research as a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD from 1992-93.
Dr. Choi’s current research interests focus on the effects of sooting and radiation on droplet combustion, and soot diagnostic techniques. In collaborations with researchers at NIST and Sandia National Laboratory, Dr. Choi has measured optical and physical properties of soot produced from various-scale flames and fires. Other investigations involve research on spherically-symmetric droplet combustion and have enhanced the understanding of how sooting and radiation behaviors influence droplet burning characteristics. His experiments on droplet combustion are slated to be conducted aboard the International Space Station. Many of his studies focus on understanding the performance characteristics of alternative liquid hydrocarbon fuels and additives typically used in automotive and jet engines.
Dr. Choi has championed educational initiatives throughout his career. He helped to develop six different U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) site programs and was instrumental in securing $6.5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a joint graduate collaboration between Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he was a co-investigator on a NSF GK-12 fellowship program for doctoral students and collaborated on a NSF Bridge to the Doctorate program for minority students.
He is president of the international mechanical engineering honor society, Pi Tau Sigma, which boasts 160 chapters nationwide. Dr. Choi has received numerous awards for excellence in research and teaching, including the Harold A. Simon College of Engineering Award for Excellence in Teaching (’98), the College of Engineering Inaugural Faculty Research Award (’98), the university-wide Award for Excellence in Teaching (’99) and the system-wide University Scholar award (2000-03) – all at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In 2006, he was awarded the Drexel University College of Engineering Robert G. Quinn Medal for Leadership and the NSF Greater Philadelphia Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Award for Excellence in Education.