Wichita State dean Toro-Ramos headed to Arkansas

11/08/2012 7:21 AM

11/08/2012 7:21 AM

Zulma Toro-Ramos, Wichita State University’s dean of the College of Engineering, is moving to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she will serve as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Toro-Ramos joined WSU in 2005. She will remain with the university through Jan. 4.

At WSU, one of Toro-Ramos’ biggest accomplishments was to transform the engineering curriculum to an experienced-based learning model, said WSU interim provost Keith Pickus.

Under the program, students complete a series of activities outside the classroom, including experience with an engineering firm or in an engineering setting.

“We pride ourselves on being able to produce industry-ready engineers,” Pickus said. “That’s unique.”

The next step for the university will be to name an interim dean of the college, Pickus said.

It may be the next academic year, however, before the search for a replacement gets under way, he said.

Decisions on the time frame and the next step in finding a replacement will be made by Pickus and WSU president John Bardo.

Toro-Ramos’ new position is a “fabulous opportunity for someone who is a very talented academic administrator,” Pickus said.

“You reach a point in your career that you have to make some decisions on what you have to do for the foreseeable future” and explore those opportunities.

In her time at WSU, Toro-Ramos led a number of other initiatives.

She worked to gain approval of the University Engineering Initiative Act of 2011 by the Kansas Legislature, which added $3.5 million in funding a year to three colleges of engineering in the state.

She also worked to establish a Center for Innovation and Enterprise Engagement, fostered partnerships with grades K-12, and established a Center for Innovation and Enterprise Management, which works with local manufacturers.

She also worked to diversify the faculty and student body and to further research in such fields as nano-technology and bio-engineering.

“Serving as dean of the Wichita State University College of Engineering has been truly an honor and a privilege,” Toro-Ramos said in a statement.

“I am proud of the college’s many accomplishments in teaching and research, and leave with the conviction that it has earned a national reputation as a leader in experience-based engineering education.”

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