Dr. Ralph E. Flori Jr., associate professor and head of petroleum engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, has been named chair of the university’s geological sciences and engineering department. His term begins July 1.
“Dr. Flori brings to this position a wealth of experience both in the geological sciences and engineering field and in Missouri S&T itself,” says Missouri S&T Provost Warren K. Wray. “His passion for engineering education at all levels makes him a perfect candidate to lead his department. I look forward to working with him in this new role.”
Flori has served a number of leadership roles at Missouri S&T, including assistant and associate dean of engineering and interim chair of interdisciplinary engineering. For 12 years, he directed a popular summer program, now called the Jackling Introduction to Engineering Program, which was attended by more than 400 high school students each summer. Since 2005, he has served as the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) affiliate director for Missouri S&T. In that role, he has led the training of more than 300 high school teachers in pre-engineering subjects, organized counselor and administrator conferences, and led high school certification visits.
“The GSE department is a productive and vibrant place that is both deeply connected to the earth science and mining traditions of this campus, and a respected leader in the currently critical earth, energy and environmental fields,” says Flori. “It’s an honor to work with the faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue to build the geology/geophysics, geological engineering and petroleum engineering programs.”
A longtime active member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Flori was recently elected to a two-year term as the organization’s vice president for member affairs. He will begin his term during ASEE’s annual conference in Louisville, Ky., in June.
A champion of pre-college education, Flori joined the Missouri S&T geological sciences and engineering department in 2008 following 18 years as a member of the faculty in interdisciplinary engineering and basic engineering, where he taught engineering mechanics and engineering design. He holds bachelor of science, master of science and Ph.D. degrees in petroleum engineering from Missouri S&T.
Flori is a recipient of ASEE’s National Outstanding Teaching Award (2005) and Midwest Section Outstanding Teaching Award (2004). Since joining the Missouri S&T faculty in 1990, he has won more than 20 teaching awards, including the Dean’s Teaching Scholar award (2004-2006, 2007-09), 16 Outstanding Teaching awards and others.
A leader in education within ASEE, Flori has chaired both the New Engineering Educators Division and the Mechanics Division. He was program chair and organizer of the ASEE Midwest Section meeting held at Missouri S&T in September 2003. He recently completed a term on the ASEE Board of Directors as Zone III chair (2007-09).
Prior to joining the S&T faculty as an assistant professor in 1990, Flori worked in the petroleum industry for AMOCO and performed geological engineering-related work for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. In addition, he helped research and develop new materials, such as ceramic superconducting filaments and bioresorbable composites for Mo-Sci Corp., a Rolla company founded by Missouri S&T Curators’ Professor Emeritus Delbert Day.