Kamyar Haghighi Head Riley Reappointed

Event Date: June 23, 2022
The College of Engineering has reappointed Dr. Donna Riley as the Kamyar Haghighi Head of the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University.

Dr. Donna Riley, Kamyar Haghighi Head

Dr. Riley has taken many steps since starting her role five years ago, including assisting a large number of successful tenure and promotion cases. This accomplishment was recently celebrated as part of her acceptance of the Violet Haas Award. Under her direction, the First-Year Engineering program, Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies and Multidisciplinary Engineering Undergraduate Programs, and ENE’s Graduate Program have all had considerable growth in both student enrollment and program offerings including new graduate online degree options. New centers were also created, including the Fusion Studio for Entertainment and Engineering and a new home for the National Institute for Engineering Ethics. Most recently, Riley led a successful faculty retreat identifying the school’s 2022-23 AY “Big Rocks” to establish goals and timelines for the steps that will lead to the next giant leap in engineering education at Purdue. 

So what is Dr. Riley looking forward to next in leading the School of Engineering Education?  

“I am excited about the opportunity to continue to work with this incredibly talented community. With so many changes and challenges created by the pandemic and coming leadership transitions, this is a moment for us to really come together. We have a clear vision for our School that remains unwavering: putting students first, and striving for a more inclusive, socially connected and scholarly engineering education. I am really looking forward to where we are going next and the impact of our next giant leap in engineering education.”

Prior to Purdue University, Dr. Riley was the interim head for the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. As the only woman currently in a head role in Purdue’s College of Engineering, also at the time of our search in 2016-17, we had to ask, “Who was the one person who said ‘Go for it. You can do this!’?” Dr. Riley didn’t hesitate with her reply that there were actually three individuals, all women in powerful leadership roles themselves: Theresa Maldonado, Stephanie Adams, and Bevlee Watford. “It was when I was a program officer at the National Science Foundation that the seed was planted through conversations with each of them. Each in their own way pushed me, mentored me, and eventually led me to where I am today.” 

In her persistent pursuit and under the guidance of strong women leaders, Riley has paid it forward both in strong leadership and mentorship to develop future leaders. For her many contributions, we are thankful and look forward to many more to come.

Related: New Head for the School of Engineering Education