The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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College Leadership: Bios

Erin Baker

Associate Dean
Focus: Research

Erin Baker has a PhD in engineering economic systems and operations research from the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, and a BA in mathematics from University of California, Berkeley.  As associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, her responsibilities include initiating and coordinating major research proposals, centers or other collaborative research initiatives; managing government relations at both state and federal levels; and promoting research interactions with industry and technology transfer.

Her research is in decision-making under uncertainty applied to the field of energy and the environment, with a focus on publically funded energy technology research and development portfolios in the face of climate change. She is the Armstrong Professional Development Professor in the mechanical and industrial engineering department and director of the Wind Energy Fellows Program.  Baker has generated more than $5,257,000 in sponsored research as a principal investigator.  She is a member of the Institute of Operations Research and Management Sciences, the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, the International Association for Energy Economics, and the Decision Analysis Society.

Christopher V. Hollot

Department Head, Electrical and Computer Engineering

 Kris Hollot received his BS in electrical engineering from West Virginia University in 1974, an MS in electrical engineering from Syracuse University in 1980 and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMass Amherst in 1984 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate and full professor in 1992 and 2002, respectively. He served as associate department head from 1994-1996 and 2002-2006.  He has been department head since 2006, serving as interim dean for the College of Engineering during 2012-2013 and again in 2019. His research interests are in feedback control theory and it’s applications with recent work in computer networks and biomedical systems.  Hollot received an NSF PYI Award in 1988 and was elected an IEEE Fellow in 2004.

John Klier

Department Head, Chemical Engineering

John Klier received a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984, and an MS in 1986 and PhD in 1989 from Purdue University.  He arrived at UMass Amherst in the fall of 2015 to serve as professor and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, he had worked at Dow Chemical Company’s R&D laboratories since 1989, ultimately holding the position of global research and development director of Dow Performance Materials and Chemicals, where he achieved the position of distinguished fellow, the highest technical level at Dow, and led an organization of over four-hundred research, development and technical service professionals.  His research interests are in coatings, the release of active ingredients, and lightweight and functional materials. Klier builds on his background in colloid, interfacial, and polymer science and engineering; research and development leadership; new-venture assessment; and organizational integration and change initiatives. He is author on over seventy patents and numerous professional papers.

Sundar Krishnamurty

Department Head, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Sundar Krishnamurty received his BS in civil engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; an MS in civil engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served as professor and head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst since 2015, having previously served as interim department head and associate department head. His research interests include design innovation, design optimization, additive manufacturing, therapeutic and medical device design, and engineering knowledge management.  He is a fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Site-Director for the NSF-sponsored Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Center for e-Design, co-Director of the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring (CPHM) with the UMass Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS).

Richard Palmer

Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Richard Palmer received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in 1979, his MS in environmental engineering from Stanford University in 1973, and his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Lamar University. He is professor and head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UMass Amherst and also serves as the university director of the Northeast Climate Science Center; one of eight Department of Interior funded National Climate Science Centers. From 1979 to 2008, Palmer was on the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. His primary areas of interest are in the fields of climate impacts on water resources and urban infrastructure and in the application of structured planning approaches to water and natural resource management. This includes evaluating the impacts of climate change, drought planning, real-time water resource management, and the application of decision support to civil engineering management problems.  He received both the Huber Award for Research Excellence and the Julian Hinds Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.  In 2014, he was recognized as one of four Distinguished Faculty Lecturers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2017.


Sanjay Raman

Dean, College of Engineering

Raman earned a bachelor’s of electrical engineering degree, with highest honors, from Georgia Tech in 1987 and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1998.   He joined UMass Amherst in August 2019 from Virginia Tech (VT) where he was associate vice president for the VT National Capital Region, president and CEO of the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation, and a tenured full professor in their Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).   From 2007-13, Raman was a program manager in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office.  Prior to his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, Raman served as a nuclear-trained submarine officer in the U.S. Navy from 1987-92. He is a founding member of the Virginia Tech Multifunctional Integrated Circuits and Systems (MICS) group, focused on innovative research in analog, mixed-signal, and RF/microwave/mm-wave IC designs, optoelectronics, and RF interfaces. Raman is an Elected Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for leadership in adaptive microwave and millimeter-wave integrated circuits. Raman is also an elected member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.

Paula Rees

Assistant Dean for Diversity

Paula Rees received her BS in civil engineering from the University of Iowa and her PhD in civil engineering and operations research with a focus in water resources from Princeton University. In addition, she received a certificate in science, technology, and public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. Her research interests are in the areas of flood hydrology and hydrometeorology, water quality monitoring and modeling, water resources sustainability, and sediment transport. Rees was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at UMass from 1999–2008. She also served as director of education and outreach for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) from 2007–2014 and as director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center, one of 54 National Institutes of Water Resources supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, from 2007–2017. Rees was appointed director of the Diversity Programs Office for the College of Engineering in fall 2011, and assistant dean for diversity in fall 2017.  She works with students, faculty and staff to make the college welcoming and inclusive for all, with a focus on recruitment and retention at all levels.

James Rinderle

Associate Dean
Focus: Student Affairs

Jim Rinderle received a BS in 1976, an MS in 1979, and a PhD 1982 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has been on the faculty of the University Massachusetts Amherst since 1993.  As associate dean for undergraduate studies and curricular innovation his focus is on developing and facilitating the undergraduate academic mission of the college, including chairing the college undergraduate curriculum committee; overseeing major academic innovations, e.g. maker-spaces; monitoring and improving pedagogy; and initiating cross departmental/college course activity.

His principal research interest is in the area of design theory and methodology. He served as associate head and undergraduate program director in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from 2007 through 2016.

Russell Tessier

Associate Dean
Focus: Graduate studies, CPE

Russell Tessier received his BS in computer and system engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his MS and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a professor at the University Massachusetts Amherst since 1999. Previously, he was a founder of Virtual Machine Works, a company that makes integrated circuit testing equipment. The company is currently owned by Mentor Graphics. He has also previously worked for Altera Corporation (now part of Intel).  As associate dean for graduate studies and operations, Tessier supervises the college's graduate degree and on-line learning programs.

His principal research interests are in the areas of reconfigurable computing and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). He has published over 100 papers and articles on the design and implementation of topics in these areas. Tessier is currently head of the Reconfigurable Computing Group at UMass.