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July 24, 2008

Bernard named interim dean of College of Engineering

by Annette Hacker, News Service

James Bernard, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering and a 25-year member of the Iowa State University mechanical engineering faculty, has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering effective Sept. 1.

He succeeds Dean Mark J. Kushner, who will join the University of Michigan faculty.

"I am very excited that Distinguished Professor Bernard has agreed to serve as interim dean," said ISU Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Hoffman. "He is a visionary leader and has a long and distinguished record at ISU in research, education, outreach and technology transfer."

Founding director of VRAC

Bernard is a leading authority in vehicle dynamics, vehicle simulation and virtual reality applications. In 1990, he became the founding director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center (then known as the Iowa Center for Emerging Manufacturing Technology). Bernard also co-founded Engineering Animation Inc., now part of Siemens PLM Software, a global provider of product lifecycle management software.

"I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve Iowa State as a teacher, researcher and administrator in the College of Engineering, and I look forward to helping the college continue to move forward as the search for our new dean is under way," Bernard said.

Bernard earned bachelor's (1965), master's (1967) and doctoral (1971) degrees in engineering mechanics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

He developed vehicle simulations at the University of Michigan's Highway Safety Research Institute from 1971 to 1976, when he joined the mechanical engineering faculty at Michigan State University, East Lansing. At MSU, he was the founding director of the Engineering College's Case Center for Computer-Aided Design.

Mechanical engineering chair

At Iowa State, Bernard chaired Iowa State's mechanical engineering department from 1983 to 1990, was interim director of ISU's computing center from 1995 to 1997, and director of VRAC from 1990 to 2003. He led the group of faculty who laid the groundwork for Iowa State's Human Computer Interaction graduate program. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Bernard will lead Iowa State's College of Engineering until a permanent dean is named. Executive Vice President and Provost Hoffman said a search committee will be appointed soon, and the search for a new dean will begin during the fall semester.


"He is a visionary leader and has a long and distinguished record at ISU in research, education, outreach and technology transfer."

Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman