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UTEP Names Kenith Meissner Dean of the College of Engineering

Last Updated on April 11, 2022 at 12:00 AM

Originally published April 11, 2022

By MC Staff

UTEP Marketing and Communications

New dean to lead college’s efforts to promote research and workforce development and benefit El Paso’s economy

UTEP announced the appointment of Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., as the new dean of the College of Engineering. He will begin his role on Aug. 3, 2022. Photo by JR Hernandez / UTEP Communications
UTEP has named Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., as the new dean of the College of Engineering. He will begin his role on Aug. 3, 2022. Photo by JR Hernandez / UTEP Communications

EL PASO, Texas (April 11, 2022) — The University of Texas at El Paso has named Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., as the new dean of the College of Engineering. He will begin his role on Aug. 3, 2022. Meissner comes to UTEP with a robust history of service in both the private sector and academia, having most recently served as Pro-Vice Chancellor/Executive Dean and as professor of Science and Engineering for Swansea University in Wales.

“Ken is an experienced Dean who is ready to take our Engineering program to the next level,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said. “In addition to a strong record of research, he has experience in industry and in driving innovation that will be vital to the future of our region.”

“UTEP’s College of Engineering has a reputation for providing excellent engineering experiences to students from underserved backgrounds,” Meissner said. “I am looking forward to serving with the faculty and staff to build on these already outstanding experiences for UTEP engineers and computer scientists. We will continue our work molding leaders and developing innovators to make a critical impact in the future of the Paso del Norte region.”

Meissner graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University in 1987 and earned his doctoral degree in optical sciences from the University of Arizona in 1994.

After graduating, Meissner was a postdoctoral appointee in the Surface Physics Group at Sandia National Laboratories.

Following stints at Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, Meissner moved to the College of Engineering at Swansea University in 2014 as a professor and chair. From 2016-2020, he served as Head of Physics.

Meissner later stepped into the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor/Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Swansea and oversaw the creation of an academic unit with more than 6,500 students served by more than 300 faculty members. Under his leadership, the new Science and Engineering unit achieved an increase in student satisfaction based on a national survey and placed 10 programs in their respective national top 10 rankings. 

In addition to his academic career, Meissner has worked with several companies to develop a noninvasive glucose measurement system for people with diabetes. In the process, he garnered significant experience in the transfer of technology between academia and the private sector.

Meissner’s research has centered on the development of novel optical techniques and materials for diagnosing disease. He has published more than 90 papers and been principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on more than $5 million in grants from funders such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, medical charities, nonprofit organizations and private companies.

Meissner succeeds Patricia Nava, Ph.D., who served as interim dean of UTEP’s College of Engineering for more than two years.

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Nava for her excellent work as interim dean over the past two years,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., UTEP’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. “Her wise and experienced leadership during the pandemic brought stability to the college during an incredibly challenging time, and the University is grateful for her guidance.”

About The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving research university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our more than 24,000 students are Hispanic, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.