Associate deans named

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June 5, 2015

New associate deans Neeraj Buch, John Verboncoeur, and Thomas Voice appointed

Three associate deans have been appointed in the Michigan State University College of Engineering.

Dean Leo Kempel named the new associate deans in an announcement on June 3. 

Appointed are: 

• Neeraj Buch: associate dean for undergraduate studies,
• John Verboncoeur: associate dean for research, and
• Thomas Voice: associate dean for administrative affairs.

“It is with pleasure that I communicate that the following individuals have accepted appointments as associate deans in the College of Engineering,” Kempel said. “Their enthusiasm, ideas, and willingness to step into a leadership position will strengthen our college and help guide our phenomenal growth. Please join me in congratulating them.”

Neeraj Buch
Buch, the new associate dean for undergraduate studies, is currently the chair and a professor of the MSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). His appointment is effective July 1. 

Neeraj Buch is the new associate dean for undergraduate studies.Buch replaces Thomas F. Wolff, who is retiring after 17 years as associate dean and 29 years with MSU. 

The associate dean for undergraduate studies is responsible for overall management and quality of undergraduate-related activities in the College of Engineering. It includes oversight of student support services, curriculum matters, and supervision of the directors of Applied Engineering Sciences and the CoRe program. The associate dean also supervises the directors of various student service units, including academic advising, career services, diversity programs, recruiting, education abroad, women in engineering, and others. 

Buch has served in a variety of leadership roles at MSU since arriving on campus in January 1996. Prior to leading the department of civil and environmental engineering from 2012-2015, he was the founding director of the Cornerstone and Residential Engineering (CoRe) program from 2009-2011. He also served as the director for the Pavement Research Center of Excellence from 2007-2013. During his tenure, he has secured in excess of $7 million in total research funding and been a co-principal investigator on three multi-million dollar engineering education grants with the National Science Foundation. 

He has advised 25 graduate students (MS and PhD) and 23 undergraduate students (Honors College, summer research experience and undergraduate research assistants); published 102 papers (journal and conference) and 24 research reports. He also helped establish civil engineering education abroad programs in Spain, Turkey and Australia. He has presented his research to highway agencies and universities in South Africa, China, Australia, Chile, India, and Brazil. 

At the university level, he has served on the advisory board of the Faculty and Organizational Development office and is an alumnus of the CIC Academic Leadership Program. He is an associate editor for the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Pavement Engineering. He is president for the International Society for Concrete Pavements. 

He holds three civil engineering degrees: a bachelor’s degree from Sardar Patel University in India; a master’s degree from the University of Michigan; and a PhD from Texas A&M University. 

John Verboncoeur
Verboncoeur has served as the college’s acting associate dean of research (ADR) since 2014 when he replaced Karim Chatti, professor of civil and environmental engineering. His appointment was effective June 1.

As ADR, Verboncoeur is responsible for managing the college’s growing research enterprise. His responsibilities include helping faculty members increase their research funding. He will assist faculty with large-proposal efforts in the college and with intercollegiate partners. He took a leading role in managing the college’s response to the university’s Academic Competitiveness Fund initiative during the 2014-2015 academic year.John Verboncoeur is the associate dean for research. He had served as the acting associate dean for research since 2014.

The college’s annual research expenditures doubled in less than a decade to more than $50 million.

Verboncoeur joined MSU as a professor in the MSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2011, after serving for 10 years as a professor in residence in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California-Berkeley. He chaired the Computational Engineering Science program at Berkeley from 2001-2010.

Verboncoeur has almost 30 years experience developing and applying kinetic particle simulation tools. He has more than 85 journal publications in computational plasmas and applications, in addition to over 250 conference publications, and five book chapters, with over 2,700 citations. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and is president of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Science Society.

He pioneered several key technologies in the area, including the first self-consistent model for plasmas bounded by electrodes connected to real driving circuits, the first interactive graphical user interface, and the first object-oriented plasma model. His group also developed the first time-dependent explanation of the transition of multipactor breakdown to gaseous discharge, as well as a novel kinetic global model. Several of his key journal articles have well over 100 citations each, indicating a high impact on the research community.

While a student at Berkeley, he took two years off to form a consulting company specializing in scientific computing. His PhD thesis work was an experimental, theoretical and computational study of a novel solid-state detector for time resolution of high power microwaves used to heat the plasma in the MTX experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Verboncoeur received a bachelor’s degree with high honors in engineering science at the University of Florida. He received a Magnetic Fusion Energy Technology Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Energy to attend the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a master’s degree and PhD in nuclear engineering.

Thomas Voice, P.E.
Voice is the inaugural associate dean for administrative affairs in the college. In this capacity, he will assist the dean with academic personnel management; facility, space and infrastructure issues; administration; and financial oversight. His responsibilities will include coordination of search and hiring processes, mentorship of new faculty, and facilities expansion and enhancement, as the college grows over the next several years. His appointment is effective July 1. 

Thomas Voice is the new associate dean for administrative affairs.

He came to MSU in 1984, and he is currently a professor in the MSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Additional appointments include adjunct professor of International Health and adjunct professor of Geological Sciences.  He is currently associate chair for graduate studies in CEE and served previously as acting co-chair of the CEE department, director of the environmental engineering program, and principal investigator of several federal research centers and multi-investigator projects. 


Voice has been an active teacher and scholar in environmental engineering at MSU, where he specializes in environmental chemistry, pollutant dynamics and environmental health. He has advised 13 doctoral students, 12 post-doctoral scholars and research associates, and more than 38 master’s students. He holds one patent and has published one book, four book chapters, over 70 research journal articles, and over 90 conference publications and a variety of other information products such as videotapes and websites. His work spans a range of environmental issues, and he has coordinated several collaborative international programs involving research, education, training, and academic program development. He has also overseen technology transfer and community outreach projects.  He has been a member of the board of directors of Consumers Reports, a non-profit publisher and consumer advocacy organization, since 2008. 

He earned three degrees at the University of Michigan: a BS in electrical engineering, and MS and PhD degrees in environmental and water resources engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in Michigan and Missouri.