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Alumnus, professor and, now, dean

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kevin Deluzio
Kevin Deluzio became the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science on July 1. Previously, he served as the head of the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s. (University Communications)

Kevin Deluzio became the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science on July 1. Most recently Dr. Deluzio was the head of the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s and has established a state of the art human motion performance laboratory at Hotel Dieu Hospital. The Gazette had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Dean Deluzio about his early experiences in the position, his goals for the coming year, and to learn a bit more about him.

Since becoming dean, what have you learned about Queen’s and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science that you didn’t know before?

“One of the things I have done since becoming dean is I invited all the faculty members to have individual meetings and the response has been amazing. Through these meetings I’ve learned about the incredible breadth of work that is being done and the most exciting part is we have so many international leaders working at the boundaries of what would be considered traditional engineering disciplines. The other thing that I’ve learned a lot about is the incredible group of people we have who are involved in our support services for undergraduate students, particularly at the first-year level where the change is the largest. I am amazed by this incredible, dedicated group, who provide all levels of support including academic, and mental health counselling. We’re very proactive in this way and I also think we set the standard across the nation in terms of the services that we have that pick students up after they stumble. It’s incredible. I’ve really been blown away by that.”

You have an extensive background with Queen’s as an alumnus and faculty member for more than 10 years as well as being the former head of the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and director of the Human Mobility Research Laboratory. Do you think this helps you in your new role?

“Absolutely. If you take a look at what the role of a dean is it’s to provide leadership to help our students, our faculty, and our staff to achieve their very best. That’s really what I am here to do and I have experience in all of those areas. Teaching here at Queen’s has made me aware of excellence of our students. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science attracts the very best from across the country and internationally. As a researcher, by establishing a lab here at Queen’s, building it to somewhat of an international reputation, I’m aware of the challenges new faculty face and that is really one area that I have a lot of passion for, providing the environment for our new faculty to succeed and help them over those hurdles and barriers to start research programs. Through my experience as a department head I have learned what you can do as an academic leader and the kind of difference you can make for students, staff, and faculty members. That will inform me in my work as dean in the sense that you have the ability to broaden and make that influence more impactful. As an alumnus, my love for Queen’s runs very deep. My pride in the engineering faculty is something that is palpable to those I work with. Honestly, I’m humbled and honoured by this opportunity to serve my faculty, to serve in this role. I think that enthusiasm and my passion will come through to the students, to the alumni, to all the stakeholders. I think that is a real strength that I will bring to this role.”

What are your priorities for the year ahead?

“There are really three main priorities: to strengthen research impact; engineering student experience; and increasing diversity within the faculty. 

“If we look out my window at the construction site for the Innovation and Wellness Centre (IWC) we are looking at the largest expansion to the engineering program in the last 15 years. About a third of the IWC is dedicated to engineering and that includes both research space and undergraduate programming. That differs very much from Beamish-Munro Hall, which was formed as a new way to provide undergraduate programming to engineering students. The IWC will enhance the overlap between undergraduate programming, world-leading research centres and innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We are going through an exciting time of faculty renewal. That gives us an incredible opportunity to increase the diversity of our faculty. When it comes to engineering it is clear that we need more diverse points of view to provide better solutions to the complex problems that engineers face.”

For those who do not know you, what should they know about you?

“I’m a very proud father of three children, one of whom is in second year of university, and I have a very supportive wife. I am passionate about sailing. I took up sailing when I moved here 10 years ago, and I think it is a metaphor for much of what we do in life. There is also a lot of engineering at work in sailing. For me it is a great way to relieve stress – it is the most relaxing thing I do. You can’t sail well unless your mind is completely on it. It takes your full everything – your mind, your body – and therefore any kind of troubles in the day, when you’re on the water, go away and you focus on sailing.”