President Julio Frenk and a new class of students are not the only fresh arrivals at the University of Miami campus this fall. On Aug. 15, Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet will take over as dean at the College of Engineering.
Bardet will replace James M. Tien, who held the position since 2007 before stepping down to join the faculty.
Bardet was born in France and educated in engineering at École Centrale de Lyon before receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology. He was most recently the director of the Urban Water Institute at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where he was also a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. Before that, he worked and taught at the University of Southern California for 28 years and founded the Megacities center, which focused on preparing the world’s largest cities for a sustainable future.
He echoes President Frenk’s sentiments about the university, praising its geographic importance and the growth overseen by President Shalala. During the interview process, Bardet met with President Frenk and said he would be using a similar approach to Frenk’s first 100 days in office as the new president: listening to the concerns, desires and goals of students, faculty and staff.
“Engineering comes from the word ingenuity, ingenious,” Bardet explained when asked about his passion for engineering. “We are creative people. We build things that have never been built before. You can actually go through the inventions of the 20th century, from airplanes, cars, air conditioning – something which is very relevant to Florida. Everything, which has really been the creation of engineers.”
Bardet also shared his belief that the product of knowledge in today’s globally connected world is at an all-time high. He added that UM is on its way to becoming a global leader in creating that product.
“We live in a global, knowledge-based economy, where knowledge is going to define the economies in any country … so the engineers now are poised to deal with much more sophisticated problems than in the past and will have to work and partner with all kinds of disciplines in order to succeed. Engineers will work with lawyers, scientists, architects — all the schools at UM will be working with engineering.”
As director of the Urban Water Institute at UTA, Bardet oversaw a center that aimed to create sustainable solutions to the water-related problems of north Texas. He acknowledged that this work was relevant to water-related issues of South Florida, but said that any proposals for fixing the problems would take time and work.
President Frenk praised Bardet’s pedigree in a university press release.
“I am delighted to welcome Jean-Pierre Bardet to the University of Miami to lead one of our institutional pillars of excellence,” President Frenk said. “His extensive experience in engineering, academic administration and community building will help to engage our students, faculty and external partners in transformational learning and research with real-world applications.”