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News Education WCU’s announces new leadership for Kimmel

James Zhang (kneeling), recently named interim dean of the Kimmel School at Western Carolina University, works with students in one of the school’s engineering and technology labs.James Zhang will be serving as interim dean of Western Carolina University’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, effective Monday, Aug. 1.

Currently associate dean of the Kimmel School, Zhang will fill a vacancy created by the upcoming departure of the current dean, Robert McMahan, who recently was named the new president of Kettering University in Flint, Mich.

Kettering University, formerly General Motors University, is known for its topranked undergraduate programs in engineering, mathematics, science and business, Beth Tyson Lofquist, WCU interim provost, said in announcing the Kimmel School leadership changes.

McMahan became dean of the Kimmel School in March 2008. Prior to his appointment at WCU, he was the North Carolina governor’s senior adviser for science and technology and executive director of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology.

“Bob McMahan has been a visionary leader for the Kimmel School during his tenure as dean, helping to sharpen the school’s focus on meaningful and effective regional economic engagement. It is indeed a testament to Dr. McMahan that Kettering University wants him as its president,” Lofquist said. “At the same time, I am confident in Dr. Zhang’s ability to lead the school as interim dean.”

Zhang joined the WCU faculty in 2003 with more than 10 years of industry experience in electrical engineering research, development and management. He was appointed associate dean for the Kimmel School in 2008. From 2009 to 2010, he also served as interim head of the Department of Construction Management.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, master’s degrees in telecommunications and electrical engineering and a doctorate in electrical engineering. During his tenure at WCU, he has generated more than 50 publications. He also holds seven U.S. and international patents.


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