Auburn appoints interim deans to lead colleges of Business, Engineering and Architecture, Design and Construction

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Following internal searches, Auburn University has selected interim deans for three of its colleges to provide leadership to more than 14,000 students and 800 faculty and staff collectively. The interim appointments follow the announcement of key leadership transitions as the university prepares to launch national searches for permanent deans later this year.

Karen Rogers, associate professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, or CADC, has been appointed acting dean; Joe Hanna, Regions Bank Professor and associate dean for research and faculty affairs, has been selected as interim dean of the Harbert College of Business; and Steve Taylor, professor and associate dean for research in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, will assume the role of interim dean.

Offering a wealth of shared administrative experience to the interim roles, Rogers, Hanna and Taylor have each served Auburn in various leadership capacities during their careers at the university. Widely regarded for their ability to work with campus stakeholders, all three are credited with advancing their colleges’ strategic goals and unit-level objectives. In addition, each has provided critical support to strengthening resources, initiatives and personnel across their colleges and increasing scholarly productivity and student growth.

“Karen Rogers, Joe Hanna and Steve Taylor are highly respected administrators, teachers, and scholars who have had a significant impact on Auburn’s campus,” Interim Provost Vini Nathan said. “Through their interim roles, I am confident they will provide the continued momentum needed while offering unique perspectives to the colleges.” 

About acting dean Karen Rogers

A noted scholar in settlement patterns, architecture and urbanism in the Americas, Rogers joined CADC in 2007 as an associate dean for external affairs, transitioning to associate dean for graduate studies and research in early 2012. Working with members of the college, Rogers has helped its academic units strategically elevate design thinking and building skills by creating innovative educational, research and outreach programs. In addition, Rogers oversees several of the college’s initiatives focused on developing sustainable and equitable solutions across the built environment and product development. 

“In addition to her demonstrated leadership experience, Karen Rogers possesses the skills, talents and knowledge necessary to lead the college in the coming months,” Nathan said. “Without question, her ability to bring teams together to achieve shared goals aptly reflects CADC’s culture and values.”

Before Auburn, Rogers lived and worked in Bogotá, Colombia, where she served as dean of the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Los Andes and was the founding director and curator of architecture at the Bogotá Museum of Modern Art. She holds a doctorate in the history and theory of architecture from the State University of New York, or SUNY, Binghamton, and a Bachelor of Arts in architecture from Yale University. Rogers is the recipient of the Henry Luce/American Council of Learned Societies dissertation fellowship in American Art and Architecture and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center Resident Scholarship in American Modernism.

In March, Rogers began serving as acting dean following the appointment of Nathan as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

About interim dean Joe Hanna

Since joining the Harbert College of Business in 1999 as a faculty member of supply chain management, Hanna has held various academic and administrative appointments. After serving as department chairperson and playing a key role in the growth and development of the supply chain program, Hanna began serving as associate dean for research and outreach in 2011. He also briefly held the position of interim dean in 2018 during a prior leadership transition. Working with leaders in the college, Hanna has helped to advance the college through a period of continued growth in student enrollment, faculty and staff and has supported the development of several new academic programs and research initiatives.

A supply chain management researcher who focuses on third-party logistics strategy and performance issues, Hanna is the current Regions Bank Professor and remains active in his professional field as an educational advisor to numerous companies, industry organizations and government entities on supply chain topics.

“As a long-time educator with considerable teaching experience and administrative insights, Joe is a strategic thinker who understands the vision and goals of the Harbert College of Business,” Nathan continued. “I have worked with Joe for several years and know he is deeply committed to the success of the college and its students, faculty and staff.”

Hanna has published more than 60 refereed journal articles, is co-author of multiple books and has made numerous presentations at various academic and practitioner conferences. Before his academic career, Hanna had a successful business career working for Phillips Petroleum Company (now ConocoPhillips), Phillips 66 Chemical Company (now ChevronPhillips Chemical Company) and Coopers and Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). Hanna holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting and a doctorate in business from New Mexico State University.

Hanna will oversee the college beginning May 16 until a permanent dean is selected to replace Annette Ranft, who was recently named dean of the School of Business at Wake Forest University.

About interim dean Steven Taylor

A faculty member in biosystems engineering for more than 30 years, Taylor has held several leadership roles in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, including serving as associate dean for research since 2016 and as head of the Department of Biosystems Engineering from 2003-16, where he also served as director of the Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts.

As associate dean for research, Taylor oversaw the coordination and promotion of the college’s research across all academic departments and research centers. Under his leadership, the college’s research enterprise experienced an unprecedented period of growth, including increases in contracts and grants from $26 million in fiscal year 2017 to more than $74 million each of the past two years.

In addition, Taylor played a leading role in the college’s efforts to fund and construct the Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory; purchase property in Huntsville to create the Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus; and he oversaw the creation of the Auburn University Transportation Research Institute, the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence and the Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems.

Taylor’s academic background includes professional practice in education, research and extension. His technical expertise is in structural wood engineering and forest engineering, emphasizing the engineering aspects of the forest products sector. His research focuses on engineering for forest operations and improved utilization of forest biomass for energy feedstocks and structural products. Working with faculty teams, Taylor led the Department of Biosystems Engineering through the assessment and creation of new undergraduate and graduate programs and four successful Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or ABET, reviews. Taylor has generated more than $68 million in total extramural funding as a Principal Investigator, or PI, or as a co-PI throughout his career. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Florida and a doctorate from Texas A&M University in the same discipline.

“In addition to his many years of service to Auburn, Steve Taylor’s understanding of the college’s research, teaching and outreach mission, combined with his outstanding leadership, ensures he is well prepared to lead the college through this transition,” Nathan said. “I am confident he will carry the college forward during this important time and ensure it is well-positioned for the next dean.”

Taylor assumes his role immediately, and his appointment follows the selection of former dean Chris Roberts as Auburn’s 21st president beginning in May.

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