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Volunteering for Service in the National Academies

Dr. James M. Tien, former dean of the College of Engineering, has recently been appointed to three key committees of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). The most significant appointment is to the Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine and Public Policy (COSEMPUP); it is a joint unit of the three National Academies. Most of its members are current or former members of the councils of the three academies. COSEMPUP was chartered by the academies to address “the concerns and requests of the President’s Science Advisor, the Director of the National Science Foundation, the Chair of the National Science Board, and heads of other federal research and development departments and agencies, and the Chairs of key science and technology-related committees of the Congress.” COSEMPUP studies are usually conducted by special interdisciplinary panels comprising the nation’s best scientific and engineering experts.

Tien also is a member of the Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century; the focus of the project is to identify deficiencies in the system and to establish various strategies to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduate education programs. STEM advances have long been central to the U.S.’s ability to manufacture better and smarter products, improve health care, develop cleaner and more efficient domestic energy sources, preserve the environment, safeguard national security, and grow the economy. For the U.S. to maintain its preeminent educational position in the world, it will be essential for the nation to continue to seamlessly integrate the education of future scientists and engineers, including the alignment of graduate courses, curricula, labs and fellowship/traineeship experiences with the needs of prospective employers.

Given the growing interest in the U.S. infrastructure, Tien is especially proud to be appointed a member of the executive committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), which has a mission of promoting innovative transportation solutions to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The TRB Executive Committee provides strategic direction and oversight for TRB’s activities and programs. It consists of 26 appointed members and 20 ex officio members. Of the 26 appointed members, seven are members of the National Academies and eight are CEOs of state DOTs. In an objective and interdisciplinary setting, TRB facilitates the sharing of information on transportation practice and policy by researchers and practitioners; stimulates research and offers research management services that promote technical excellence; provides expert advice on transportation policy and programs; and disseminates research results broadly and encourages their implementation.

Tien earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his PhD in systems engineering and operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2001, Tien was elected as a National Academy of Engineering member. He was appointed dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering from 2005 to 2015, and he remains a distinguished professor. He also served on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers board of directors (2000-2004) and was its vice president in charge of the Publication Services and Products Board and the Educational Activities Board. His research interests include systems modeling, public policy, decision analysis and information systems.