Dr. Robert Mitchell, dean of the UMR School of Engineering since August 1994, has announced plans to leave UMR in August to direct the School of Engineering at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City.
Mitchell will serve as associate dean for engineering in OC’s College of Professional Studies.
‘UMR is a school of the highest quality because of its people and the long tradition of excellence. Another key to our success has been the willingness of our alumni and our friends to invest in the future of UMR and the trust that our corporate friends have placed in our partnerships. I look forward to seeing new accomplishments at UMR and claiming that I had a small part in our team efforts to move the university in good directions.’ – Dr. Robert Mitchell
"This is my 12th year at UMR and each year has been a great experience," says Mitchell. "UMR is a school of the highest quality because of its people and the long tradition of excellence. Another key to our success has been the willingness of our alumni and our friends to invest in the future of UMR and the trust that our corporate friends have placed in our partnerships. I look forward to seeing new accomplishments at UMR and claiming that I had a small part in our team efforts to move the university in good directions."
"Bob Mitchell has done an excellent job leading UMR’s engineering programs over the past 11 years," says UMR Chancellor John F. Carney III. "Bob’s leadership and pure love of UMR’s engineering programs have been crucial in transforming UMR into one of the nation’s leading technological universities. With Bob’s resignation, UMR loses a tremendous advocate and strong leader. We will miss him greatly but wish him all the best with this new endeavor."
Mitchell joined UMR in 1994, filling the position held by former Dean Robert L. Davis. Previously, Mitchell served as chair of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Under Mitchell’s leadership at UMR, the School of Engineering developed new degrees in computer, architectural, environmental, systems, manufacturing and interdisciplinary engineering. The school also added major building expansions in electrical and civil engineering. In addition, eight new endowed faculty professorships were created and external research funds increased from $5 million to $15 million.
Also during his tenure at UMR, Mitchell helped broaden UMR’s engineering programs by adding new programs for officers at the Army Engineer School at nearby Fort Leonard Wood and extending UMR’s engineering management degree program to a statewide audience. The master’s degree program in systems engineering became the first online degree program offered worldwide by UMR.
A champion of hands-on applied engineering education, Mitchell has been a strong advocate for UMR’s student design teams, and his support of those programs helped several of them attain national recognition. These programs include the Human-Powered Vehicle Team, which has won national championships for the past three years; the UMR Solar Car Team, which won the 1999 Sunrayce competition and the 2003 American Solar Challenge; and the SAE Heavy Lift Aero Team, also a national champion.
Mitchell received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, in 1967. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and 1972, respectively.
He began his academic career in 1972 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He was promoted to associate professor of electrical engineering at Purdue in 1978 and professor in 1983. From 1985 through 1988, Mitchell was Purdue’s assistant dean of engineering for industrial relations and industrial research.
Mitchell joined the University of Texas-Arlington faculty in 1988 as professor and chair of electrical engineering.