Dean, School of Engineering
Professor of Computer Science
Centennial Engineering Center, Suite 3071
Ph: (505) 277-5521
Fax: (505) 277-1422
Ph.D., Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1976
M.S., Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania,1974
B.S., Computer Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania,1973
On July 1, 2011, Dr. Gruia-Catalin Roman became the 18th dean of the University of New Mexico School of Engineering. His aspirations as dean are rooted in his conviction that engineering and computing play central and critical roles in facilitating social and economic progress. Roman sees the UNM School of Engineering as being uniquely positioned to enable scientific advances, technology transfer, and workforce development on the state, national, and international arenas in ways that are responsive to both environmental and societal needs and that build on the rich history, culture, and intellectual assets of the region.
Born in Bucharest, Romania, he studied general engineering topics for two years at the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest and became the beneficiary of a Fulbright Scholarship. In the fall of 1971, Roman entered the very first computer science freshman class at the University of Pennsylvania. In the years that followed, he earned B.S. (1973), M.S. (1974), and Ph.D. (1976) degrees, all in computer science. At the age of 25, he began his academic career as Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1997, Roman was appointed department head. Under his leadership, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering experienced a dramatic transformation in faculty size, level of research activities, financial strength, and reputation. In 2004, he was named the Harold B. and Adelaide G. Welge Professor of Computer Science at Washington University.
In the span of three decades, Roman has enjoyed a rewarding and exciting research career. He published over 180 technical papers; graduated nineteen doctoral students, with the majority pursuing their own academic careers; secured strong levels of research funding, both alone and in collaboration with colleagues in the department and outside; held leadership positions in key international conferences; and served as associate and guest editor for several leading software engineering journals. His research spans a broad range of computer science subfields including mobile computing, formal design methods, visualization, distributed systems, interactive high speed computer vision, formal languages, biomedical simulation, computer graphics, and distributed database. He has been partial to research endeavors associated with the emergence of novel intellectual developments and significant engineering challenges.
Roman is always intrigued by the opportunity to bring about an important paradigm shift. His most recent interests entail the study of mobile computing with a focus on exploiting both engineering and social opportunities associated with two new disruptive technologies, ad hoc and sensor networks. His most ambitious undertaking to date focuses on the creation of a world market for wireless distributed applications, which he hopes will change fundamentally the way we live and work.
For Roman, the students always come first. He has been in the forefront of efforts to reshape the graduate student culture; he views mentoring of doctoral students as a personal calling and an opportunity to engage in the best kind of teaching one can imagine possible. He is an advocate for a radical transformation of the way core classes are taught and for the adoption of active learning techniques. Roman's reputation as an innovative, caring and demanding teacher has been shaped by his pioneering efforts in the teaching of programming languages and software engineering. His classes are known for their unifying themes and vision, interestingly conceived assignments, and individualized attention.
Over the years, Roman gained the reputation for being a passionate and effective advocate for diversity, outreach, multidisciplinary education, and collaborative research across schools and departments. He has been instrumental in nurturing strong ties between engineering and other fields of study. The emphasis on quality of life, teaching excellence, and high-impact research continue to be the defining traits of Roman’s professional and academic life.
Roman’s leadership role in two flagship international conferences on software engineering (ICSE 2005 in St. Louis and FSE 2010 in Santa Fe) transformed these meetings into memorable and influential events by providing a strong intellectual vision, by securing significant levels of financial support, and by achieving high levels of community involvement. He was a founding board member of the St. Louis Information Technology Coalition and served in an advisory capacity for the St. Louis Science Center.