Barros named Department Head

10/27/2020 2:43:48 PM

Dr. Ana Barros has been named as the new Donald Biggar Willett Chair of Engineering and new Head and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in The Grainger College of Engineering. The appointment will be effective February 1, 2021, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. 

Barros is currently the Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. Her primary research interests are in hydrology, hydrometeorology and environmental physics with a focus on water-cycle processes in the coupled land-atmosphere-biosphere system, particularly in regions of complex terrain. She has expertise in the critical area of water security and environmental sustainability, with emphasis on the study of water cycle processes taking place in the land-atmosphere-biosphere system. Her research relies on intensive field and laboratory experiments, large-scale computational modeling, nonlinear data analysis and environmental informatics. 

She has received multiple prestigious awards for her numerous pioneering technical contributions and many leadership roles in major national and international research and professional programs, including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2019. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union. 

In announcing the appointment, Dean Rashid Bashir wrote, “I am very excited about having Professor Barros lead our top ranked department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at a time when the need for impact to be made on the world by scholars, educators, and practitioners in this field is greater than ever before. This impact on improving the human condition includes and is not limited to sustainable and resilient infrastructures, future of transportation, disaster and pandemic mitigation, reversing climate change, and broadly speaking - digitalization of the world and everything around us that houses and sustains us, and allows us to live healthy and productive lives.”

Q&A with Ana Barros

What excites you about assuming the position of Head in CEE at Illinois?
CEE has a long tradition of innovation and leadership in all areas of Civil and Environmental Engineering education and research. For decades, thousands of engineering undergraduate students around of the world, including myself, have been learning from textbooks written at UIUC. I am excited to work with our students, faculty, staff and alumni toward affirming and expanding this tradition looking forward to address 21st century challenges and opportunities.

Do you have any particular initiatives you plan to pursue as Head?
Education, and in particular undergraduate education is central to our mission and is a top priority. Fostering and enabling  transformative interdisciplinary research leveraging UIUC’s vast resources, and strengthening interactions and partnerships with industry and governmental agencies are top priorities as well. CEE has impressive world-class laboratory facilities, and top-caliber faculty, students and staff.  I will spend time in upcoming months meeting with colleagues, students, alumni and CEE friends and supporters to listen and seek input toward developing and implementing specific initiatives that best meet CEE needs and aspirations.

Anything else you’d like to add?
President Tim Killeen signed today an MOU between University of Illinois System and University of Toronto as a major step toward developing the Great Lakes Higher Education Consortium (GLHEC) with sponsorship from the Council for the Great Lakes Region.  This is exciting news. GLHEC has huge potential to bring about new avenues for collaboration in STEM research and education and partnerships with industry and the private sector broadly. I am hoping CEE will seize upcoming opportunities.