Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Four New Department Heads Join SD Mines

The four new department heads at SD Mines (pictured top left to bottom right) are: Allison Gilmore, Jeffery Woldstad, Pierre Larochelle, and Magesh Rajan.

RAPID CITY, SD (July 5, 2017) –  Four new professors are joining the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology this fall:

Allison Gilmore, Ph.D., is the new Humanities and Social Sciences Department Head.

Gilmore comes to Mines from Ohio State University, where she served as faculty member, coordinator of the Department of History, and Associate Dean of Ohio State’s Lima campus. She received her B.A., M.A. from the University of Nebraska and her Ph.D. from Ohio State University where her academic training focused on American military history and modern Japan. She is the author of You Can’t Fight Tanks with Bayonets: Allied Psychological Warfare against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Southwest Pacific (University of Nebraska,1998), a study of Allied propaganda operations designed to undermine Japanese military morale during the Pacific War.

Pierre Larochelle, Ph.D., is the new Mechanical Engineering Department Head.

Larochelle comes to Mines from the Florida Institute of Technology where he served as associate dean and a professor of mechanical engineering. His research focuses on the design of complex robotic mechanical systems and enabling creativity and innovation in design. He is the founding director of the Robotics and Spatial Systems Laboratory (RASSL). He has over 100 publications, holds two U.S. patents, and serves as a consultant on robotics, automation, machine design, creativity & innovation and computer-aided design. He serves on the Executive Committee of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Design Engineering Division and will serve as chair of the division in 2018-2019. He serves on Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s (ABET) Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and as an ABET accreditation visit team chair. Moreover, he currently serves as the chair of the U.S. Committee on the Theory of Mechanisms & Machine Science and represents the U.S. in the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism & Machine Science (2016 - 2020). He has served as chair of the ASME Mechanisms & Robotics Committee (2010-2014) and as an associate editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanisms & Robotics, the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, and for Mechanics Based Design of Structures & Machines. He is a Fellow of the ASME, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and the Order of the Engineer.

Magesh Rajan, Ph.D., is the new Electrical Engineering Department Head.

Rajan come to Mines from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where he was the founding director of the Plasma Engineering Research Lab, and associate professor of electrical engineering. Rajan is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas. He received his Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in electrical engineering, and holds a MBA degree in strategic leadership and management and has significant entrepreneurial experience in successful technology start-up companies.  Prior to his academic career, he was in industry at the General Electric Global Research Center in New York.  He is currently a Senior Member of IEEE and an experienced program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), and holds a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. He is a member of technical, professional and honors societies such as IEEE-Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS), The Optical Society (OSA), ASME, ASEE, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

Jeffery Woldstad, Ph.D., is the new Industrial Engineering Department Head.

Woldstad comes to Mines from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where he was a professor of biological systems engineering. He received a B.S. degree in mathematics and psychology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., in 1983, a M.S. degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1984, and a Ph.D. in industrial and operations Engineering and psychology in 1989, also from the University of Michigan. In addition to his current position, Woldstad was a faculty member at Texas Tech University, Oregon State University and Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He has also served in several administrative positions including department chair in industrial and manufacturing engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and senior associate dean of engineering at Texas Tech University. He is an experienced researcher and educator with expertise in the areas of ergonomics, occupational biomechanics, human motor control and human information processing. 

These four new professors replace four longstanding and respected educators who are retiring, or stepping down from their leadership roles after decades of combined service:    

Stuart Kellogg, Ph.D., has served as both a professor and department head of the SD Mines Industrial Engineering Department since 1990.  

Sue Shirley, Ph.D., has served since 1992 as both a professor and department head of the SD Mines Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Michael Langerman, Ph.D., has served in the SD Mines Mechanical Engineering department as both professor and department head since 1992. He is also an SD Mines alumnus.

Scott Rausch has worked in the Department of Electrical Engineering since 2008 where he has taught and served as the interim department head. He is also an SD Mines alumnus. 

Some of the professors listed above will stay on as emeritus faculty and continue to teach future scientists and engineers at SD Mines.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Charles Michael Ray, 605-394-6082, Charles.ray@sdsmt.edu

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