Laursen Named Senior Associate Dean at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering

DURHAM, N.C. -- Tod Laursen, an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in civil and environmental engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, has been appointed the school's senior associate dean for education, Pratt Dean Kristina M. Johnson announced Wednesday.

"In this new position, Tod will help take the school to the next level of high-impact engineering education as outlined in our Strategic Plan," Johnson said.

She said Laursen will develop a school-wide strategy for recruiting graduate and undergraduate students. He also will work with other Pratt faculty members to expand master's degree offerings and to improve the Pratt curriculum with special emphasis on the first-year experience.

"The new senior associate dean for education also will be responsible for developing and carrying out new initiatives for achieving our educational mission -- to deliver a bold, personal engineering educational experience within Pratt," Johnson said.

She said the new position is in addition to the senior associate dean for undergraduate student affairs and the assistant dean for student affairs.

"We need all three positions to allow senior leaders to focus on fewer tasks, which, as the school grows, will require more time to maintain our high standards," Johnson said.

Laursen received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Before joining the Duke faculty in 1992, he worked as a solid mechanics analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

At Duke, Laursen teaches undergraduate courses in engineering computing and engineering science and teaches graduate courses in continuum mechanics, engineering analysis, finite element methods, and the use of finite element methods for the solution of nonlinear problems. His research activities fall largely under these same categories.

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