Purdue names new dean for Polytechnic Institute

Sam Fried

Daniel Castro-Lacouture Daniel Castro-Lacouture, a professor and administrator at Georgia Institute of Technology, will be the new dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, effective June 1. Castro-Lacouture, currently a Georgia Tech professor of building construction and executive director of the professional master’s program in occupational safety and health, was assistant […]


Daniel Castro-Lacouture

Daniel Castro-Lacouture, a professor and administrator at Georgia Institute of Technology, will be the new dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, effective June 1.

Castro-Lacouture, currently a Georgia Tech professor of building construction and executive director of the professional master’s program in occupational safety and health, was assistant professor of civil engineering at Ohio University before joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 2006. He served as chair of the School of Building Construction at Georgia Tech for more than 11 years.  

As chair, Castro-Lacouture oversaw considerable growth in the number and diversity of tenure-track faculty and the creation of six new academic programs, including the professional master’s in occupational safety and health, which was the first online graduate degree in the College of Design in partnership with Georgia Tech Professional Education, the master of real estate development, and the PhD with a major in building construction. He also led development efforts that resulted in the renovation and naming of the school building, doubling and upgrading the collaborative workplace area, and guided the school’s strategic planning process.

“Dr. Castro-Lacouture is an outstanding choice to lead the Polytechnic Institute as we continue to rethink and redesign how students can master the competencies required in our evolving innovation marketplace,” President Mitch Daniels said. “I know the college and all of its students will benefit from their new dean’s experience and energy.”

Castro-Lacouture earned his PhD in civil engineering from Purdue in 2003 and served as a teaching assistant in the Division of Construction Engineering and Management and a staff resident at Hillenbrand Hall.

“The current situation and outlook of the Polytechnic Institute, featuring talented and caring people, state-of-the-art facilities, and an inspiring mission, convinced me that it was the right time to become the next dean,” Castro-Lacouture said. “I am truly grateful for this opportunity, as I could not wish for a better return to Purdue to build upon fond memories of a great education and an exceptional sense of community.”

Castro-Lacouture’s research centers on the feasibility of multi-scale applications of digital technologies for preconstruction and construction processes. At the project level, his focus is on construction exchanges and change management using building information modeling. At the community level, he investigates sustainable energy and building connectivity for smart cities.  He is co-author of the book “Sustainability in Engineering Design and Construction” (2016, CRC Press) and is the co-editor-in-chief of Automation in Construction (Elsevier). At Georgia Tech, he designed and taught new courses in safety and health leadership culture, capstone projects and zero-energy housing. Castro-Lacouture serves on the board of directors of the International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction, and the International Green Builder Certification Board.

Before his studies at Purdue, Castro-Lacouture received a BSc in civil engineering from Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia, and an MSc in construction management from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. Earlier in his career, he spent four years in industry as a project engineer.

As dean of Purdue Polytechnic Institute, he will report to Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, and will be responsible for working with college faculty, staff and students to lead the development and implementation of an aggressive and ambitious strategic plan, building on the well-deserved reputation the college has earned for leading-edge innovation and excellence in all mission areas.

“I look forward to welcoming Dr. Castro-Lacouture back to campus,” Akridge said. “His leadership experience at Georgia Tech, his disciplinary background in construction management, his academic preparation in our College of Engineering, and his vision and passion for the role are a terrific fit for the dynamic, creative Polytechnic Institute.

“I want to add my deepest thanks to Interim Dean Carrie Berger, who has done an outstanding job moving the college forward during this time of transition.” Berger will continue to serve in her role until May 31.

Akridge also acknowledged the efforts of the search advisory committee. “I’d also like to thank the search committee, with a special thanks to committee chair Karen Plaut, dean of the College of Agriculture,” he said. “The finalists for this position were all outstanding and the committee did great work throughout the recruiting and review process.”

Members of the search advisory committee were: 

  • Karen Plaut (chair), the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture.
  • Paula Asunda, associate professor, Technology Leadership and Innovation.
  • Elizabeth Barajas, director of globalization, Polytechnic Institute.
  • Scott Bess, head of school, Purdue Polytechnic High School.
  • Patrick Connelly, associate dean, undergraduate programs, Polytechnic Institute.
  • Steve Elliott, department head and professor, Technology Leadership and Innovation.
  • Colin Gray, associate professor, Computer Graphics Technology.
  • Sarah Hubbard, associate professor, Aviation and Transportation Technology.
  • Brooke Huntington, assistant dean, Polytechnic Institute.
  • Gozdem Kilaz, associate professor, Engineering Technology.
  • Dawn Laux, associate department head and clinical associate professor, Computer and Information Technology.
  • Alejandra Magana, the W.C. Furnas Professor of Enterprise Excellence, Computer and Information Technology.
  • Toni Mungia, director of recruitment, retention and diversity, Polytechnic Institute.
  • Thomas R. ONeal, senior academic advisor, Polytechnic Institute.
  • Randy Sergesketter, senior vice president, Global Platform-Crop Harvesting Agriculture, Deere and Co.
  • Anthony Sparkling, assistant professor, Construction Management Technology.
  • Richard Voyles, the Daniel C. Lewis Professor of the Polytechnic Institute.

https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2022/Q1/purdue-names-new-dean-for-polytechnic-institute.html

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