Tom Siller, associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Engineering, will spend the spring at the University of Oregon as part of a prestigious American Council on Education Fellows Program.
Siller was one of 39 individuals chosen for the program this year and one of only 13 from major research institutions that issue doctoral degrees. The program is intended to identify and help prepare senior leadership in the nation’s colleges and universities.
"Tom’s selection into this program is a reflection on the quality of our faculty at Colorado State," said Tony Frank, provost and senior vice president. "With the many challenges facing higher education in this country, we must continue to develop leaders with creative problem-solving skills. That’s why our president, Dr. Larry Penley, is active in the American Council on Education, which is a fine organization known for preparing the leaders of tomorrow."
"Tom is a terrific candidate for this fellowship," said Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering. "We look forward to learning from his experiences and new ideas that he brings from participating in this program."
The office of the associate dean is focused on student success. Siller oversees recruitment and retention activities in the college such as Engineering Exploration Day, which targets students in junior and senior high, the Women and Minorities in Engineering Program and a new Professional Learning Institute that helps students learn more about leadership and professionalism in the workplace.
"Right now we’re a period of growth and change in the college and I think of myself as one of the change agents," said Siller, who joined the Colorado State faculty in 1988 and was appointed associate dean in 2002. "The administrative skills I’ve learned are usually within the context of engineering. With this fellowship, I’ll see the broader context of how a university operates."
"My goal, along with the university, is to bridge the gap between academic and student affairs – the two shouldn’t be separate," Siller said. "We’ve made efforts to look at students as people as opposed to just students in the classroom."
Siller has been actively involved with curricular reform issues in the college and the university as well as the design of the engineering residence hall in the new Academic Village scheduled to open this fall. He also recently collaborated with the School of Education to create a new Engineering Education degree, which trains engineers to be junior high and high school engineering and technology teachers in an effort to improve the nation’s technological literacy and its global competitiveness.
Siller obtained his doctoral degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He received a bachelor’s in civil engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and earned his master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Since joining the faculty at Colorado State, he has won several teaching and advising awards, including the Jack Cermak Award and the Chi Epsilon Gold Key Award.
His research interests as a faculty member included the seismic design of earth structures and understanding the role of technology in engineering education. He served as a visiting professor at the National Technological University where he coordinated the First Electronic International Conference on Engineering Education.