Robert Ghrist Appointed Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

March 15th, 2023

Original Article written March 14th, 2023 by Olivia J. McMahon.

Robert Ghrist, Andrea Mitchell University Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering and in Mathematics, has been appointed the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in Penn Engineering, effective July 1, 2023.

Ghrist is a pioneer in teaching calculus through electronic media, and his accolades as an educator include the Lindback Award, Penn’s highest cross-University honor for teaching, and Penn Engineering’s S. Reid Warren, Jr. Award in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding the intellectual and professional development of undergraduate students in the School.

“Rob is an award-winning, gifted educator who strives to make mathematics accessible to a broad range of students,” said Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering. “I know that his dedication to reaching students of all disciplines will further enhance Penn Engineering’s undergraduate experience.”

Ghrist’s research is in applied mathematics, specifically, in applications of algebraic topology to problems in data, networks, robotics, neuroscience and more. Since coming to Penn, Ghrist has been the lead investigator on more than $10 million in grants from the Department of Defense to develop new applications of topology. He was named one of the top 50 for research innovation by Scientific American in 2007, and in 2013, his peers recognized Ghrist with the Chauvenet Prize for mathematical writing, awarded by the Mathematical Association of America.

As Associate Dean, Ghrist will oversee all undergraduate academic affairs for Penn Engineering, including all educational programs, and serve as the Chair of the school-wide Undergraduate Affairs Committee.

In 2008, Ghrist was appointed as Penn’s seventh Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor. He received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University. He joined the Penn faculty from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was University Scholar and the Richard and Margaret Romano Professional Scholar.