John L. Volakis has been appointed dean of FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing. Volakis comes to FIU with a distinguished career in academia, most recently serving as the Roy and Lois Chope chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering at The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering, a position he has held for 14 years. He also served as the director of the ElectroScience Laboratory (ESL) overseeing approximately 170 people, including 30 faculty members and researchers.
At ESL, he increased funding more than threefold, reaching $10-$12 million per year in recent years. Volakis also completed the capital campaign for a new ESL building, reaching a financial goal of $8 million for construction of the 40,000-square-foot facility. He also led several large teams as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for more than $55 million in research awards over the past 14 years.
‘At the heart of engineering is the ability to find creative ways to solve complex problems. Under Dean Volakis’ direction, the College of Engineering & Computing will prepare students to develop innovative solutions to those challenges, and prepare them to excel in a demanding field,’ said FIU Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton. ‘We will continue to build on the college’s groundbreaking research, and grow our alliances with industry and the community.’
An immigrant from Greece, Volakis arrived in the U.S. knowing only a few words of English, and worked to pay for his education. Today, he has earned international recognition for introducing hybrid finite element methods, widely used in electromagnetics CAD packages, small and wideband antennas, and textile electronics with applications for radio frequency communications for cellular and satellite communications, sensors for healthcare and the Internet of Things (IoT).
He has a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University.
‘Throughout my career I was fortunate to have great teachers and mentors, and to reach an unlikely level of success,’ Volakis said. ‘It is a privilege to give back to a community similar to the one I came from, and to help the College of Engineering & Computing lead the nation in student success and research indicators.’
Ranu Jung, who has served as interim dean at the FIU College of Engineering & Computing since July 2015, will remain with the college as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She joined the college in January 2011 as chair of the department and as a Wallace H. Coulter Eminent Scholar professor.