School of Engineering appoints Browning to leadership role

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Engineering has appointed JoAnn Browning, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, to the position of associate dean for administration.

JoAnn Browning

The associate dean for administration will help manage growth in enrollment and expansion of facilities at the School of Engineering, as well as meet assessment demands from the Engineering Growth Act, a measure approved by Kansas legislators in 2011 with the goal of producing more engineers through state universities to meet demands from industry and bolster the Kansas economy.

Browning will work closely in her new role with Dean of Engineering Stuart Bell and department chairs to ensure those goals are met.  Her duties will include coordinating assessment and assignment of space in the growing engineering complex, providing assessment reports to the university and state, integrating aspects of the school’s Edwards Campus programs, overseeing school-level IT services, and coordinating updates and posting of school policies and linking them with university policies.

Browning, who has a professional engineer license in Kansas, has served in leadership roles on a number of committees within the School of Engineering and at the university level. She is very active in the American Concrete Institute – having served as president of the Kansas chapter

“A lot of my time has been spent in service-related areas, and I really enjoyed it.  I think that’s why, when the call came out, I decided to apply. I thought I could make a difference or I could help,” Browning said.

In order to take full advantage of opportunities and successfully guide the school through the challenges that lie ahead, Browning knows it will be a delicate balancing act.

“The most important thing is that different constituents feel like they have a voice – that they put their needs forward and they are adequately considered.  You can’t solve all problems, but you can at least say ‘we’re going to do this much now and we’re going to try to keep this need in mind for what’s going to happen next,’” Browning said.  “I hope to be a good point person for Dean Bell and help coordinate these important topics so that he has the information needed to make the best decision.”

Browning has been at KU since 1998.  In the coming months, she will be scaling back on her teaching and research duties as her responsibilities ramp up as associate dean for administration.

“Dr. Browning brings a wide array of valuable skills to the table,” said Bell.  “She has the tools and abilities to successfully address the challenges and opportunities ahead as the School of Engineering continues to build on our success.  Exciting times are ahead, and it’s wonderful to welcome Dr. Browning into this new role.”

She is the first woman to serve as an associate dean for the school and joins two other associate deans: Glen Marotz, who leads research and graduate programs; and Robert Sorem, who oversees undergraduate studies.