New Leader, New Direction for UT Space Institute

KNOXVILLE — Dr. Donald C. Daniel has been named to succeed the retiring Dr. John E. Caruthers as associate vice president and chief operating officer of the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Daniel’s arrival in early June will provide key leadership for a revitalization plan that positions the UT Space Institute for significant growth focused on serving emerging needs of the state and nation, UT president John Petersen said.

UT Media Relations
UT Media Relations
“Don Daniel is a world-renowned expert in aerospace engineering who brings diverse, prestigious experience in research and leadership with some of the nation’s premiere academic and policymaking institutions,” Petersen said. “At the UT Space Institute, he will oversee execution of a plan encompassing new efforts in research and graduate teaching that will address the nation’s needs in the next decade.”

Daniel currently is a principal research engineer with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, a Distinguished Research Professor with the National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy, and Chairman of NATO’s Research and Technology Board. He also is former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, and is a former Executive Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory. He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering all at the University of Florida.

“I am excited about the opportunities I see for UTSI, the privileged place it enjoys in the community and the state, and its national reputation,” Daniel said. “We have significant technical expertise in areas that are vital to the nation, and we must continue to focus and build upon these.”

Daniel’s expertise in aerospace and engineering science and technology is recognized in both the United States and Europe and will be key to leveraging UTSI’s resources as a vital component of a larger team focused on critical national issues, according to UT executive vice president Jack Britt, who directed the search for UTSI’s new leader.

“We are delighted that Don Daniel will become the new chief operating officer and leader for the UT Space Institute,” Britt said. “He knows the Tullahoma area from prior experience as chief scientist at the Arnold Engineering Development Center.”

UTSI’s revitalization plan incorporates the institute-s expertise in materials science, aerospace science and teaching. The materials science focus will capitalize on a world-class reputation in laser technology to enhance materials and on a new effort in producing lower cost, carbon-based materials for applications in aerospace and transportation industries, Britt said. The aerospace emphasis will be on new propulsion technologies for planes and rockets.

The teaching focus is on developing nationally leading distance education for engineers, pilots and scientists in industry or government throughout the country.

“In addition to building on an already strong reputation, UTSI has recently added new faculty and renewed partnerships with federal and university research teams,” Britt said. “For example, scientists and engineers at UTSI are working with colleagues at the nearby Arnold Engineering Development Center, a long-term partner, along with new partners at Oak Ridge National Lab, the colleges of Engineering at UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga, the NASA Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Ala. and with the Air Force Research Lab to pursue complex research problems related to jet and rocket propulsion.

“UTSI’s distance education programs in engineering management and aviation systems already are recognized for their high quality, but recent recruitment of nationally known leaders for these programs enhance the quality and will help double or triple the number of students served.”

While these graduate programs use distance delivery techniques to reach most students in their workplaces, students also visit UTSI periodically during their graduate programs for access to unique aircraft and equipment at the Tullahoma campus.

Maximizing UTSI’s partnership with Arnold Engineering Development Center and enhancing interaction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory are among Daniel-s top priorities, he said.

“I sense an eagerness on the part of several people I have talked with to pursue this, and I intend to,” Daniel said. “We also have great opportunities to enhance our relationship with the College of Engineering at UT Knoxville. I feel that Dean Way Kuo and his senior leaders are eager to work with us, and I am equally eager to work with them on both academic and research matters.”

In addition to graduate teaching and research opportunities, UTSI is expected to become the site of Tennessee-s first statewide residential high school specializing in math and physical sciences. Gov. Phil Bredesen proposed establishment of such a school and has included funding to plan it in the 2007 budget submitted to the Tennessee General Assembly. UT would operate the proposed school, which would attract top high school juniors and seniors statewide.

Outgoing leader Caruthers has been with UTSI since September 1978, when he joined the faculty as an assistant professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

“We are grateful to John Caruthers for his years of service,” UT president Petersen said. “Thanks to his able leadership, UTSI is now poised to take its place nationally in research and graduate teaching.”

Contacts:

Jay Mayfield, media relations (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)
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