New ME chair

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Sept. 8, 2015

James Klausner to lead MSU Department of Mechanical Engineering 

James Klausner has been named chair of the Michigan State University Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME), effective Jan. 1, 2016.James Klausner, a Newton C. Ebaugh Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a program director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy will become the new chair of the MSU Department of Mechanical Engineering in January.

Klausner will replace Alejandro Diaz, who served as chair of the mechanical engineering department from 2009 to 2015. Diaz is now focused on teaching, research, and service as a faculty member. Manooch Koochesfahani, associate dean for Engineering Graduate Studies and Faculty Development, is serving as the interim chair until Klausner arrives in January. 

“We are pleased that Professor Klausner will be joining the College of Engineering,” said MSU Engineering Dean Leo Kempel. “His academic strength and leadership skills, as well as deep understanding of the research environment nationally, will be a tremendous benefit to the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the college,” Kempel explained. “The cutting-edge education and research in Mechanical Engineering will have a profound impact for our students, MSU, the State of Michigan, and nation. I look forward to working with James.” 

Klausner brings distinguished and diverse experiences to MSU. He is a Newton C. Ebaugh Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville and is a program director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

His focus at ARPA-E includes thermal energy storage, energy efficient manufacturing, and dry cooling for thermoelectric power production. Klausner’s academic research interests include waste heat and solar driven, low temperature desalination, solar thermal energy driven synthetic fuel synthesis, heat exchangers for spacecraft, and high heat flux cooling.

At the University of Florida, Klausner served as the chair of the Energy Strategic Planning Committee from 2009-2012, interim director for Electronic Delivery of Graduate Education from 2006-2007, and as coordinator for the Thermal Science and Fluid Dynamics Research and Education Group in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from 2002-2012.

Klausner said it is an exciting time to be coming to Michigan State. “MSU Engineering is on an upward trajectory, and MSU is certain to have regional, national and global impact on engineering education and research. I very much look forward to working with an esteemed Mechanical Engineering Faculty and a superb student body to achieve preeminent status among our peer institutions,” Klausner said.

“While at the Department of Energy, a major initiative I pushed forward involves lightweighting the nation’s vehicle fleet with efficient and sustainable manufacturing to produce the most competitive vehicles worldwide,” Klausner continued. “There is no better place than the State of Michigan to continue to push that vision forward. There are no shortages of engineering grand challenges, and I look forward to leading the Mechanical Engineering Department to take on new challenges with innovative and creative ideas in a collaborative framework within the College and University. Go Spartans!”

Within the academic engineering community, Klausner is best known for his fundamental science contributions to thermal fluids energy transport. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences, in addition to serving on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, Frontiers in Heat and Mass Transfer, and the Open Journal for Thermodynamics.

He has authored more than 100 technical publications in the thermal fluid sciences and holds eight patents or patent applications.

Among his awards is the SAE Ralph Teetor Educational Award, the Journal of Computational Physics top downloaded article in 2013, and a 2013 ASME Heat Transfer Division 75th Anniversary Award.

He routinely serves on National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Science Foundation panels, and has been invited as a keynote speaker at several international heat transfer conferences. 

He received a bachelor’s degree in marine systems engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (1984) and master’s (1986) and Ph.D. (1989) degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.