IT Dean H. Ted Davis to step down after nine years at helm

Davis will return to a University teaching position after he steps down.

Amy Horst

After nine years of adding faculty members and successfully lobbying for new buildings and equipment, H. Ted Davis will step down as the Institute of Technology’s dean in fall 2004.

University officials expect a replacement search to begin soon.

As dean, Davis helped raise $159 million for the college between 1996 and 2003, and he helped acquire funds for Walter Library renovations. He also created the Digital Technology Center and helped found the biomedical engineering department.

Pat Kumar, an electrical and computer engineering professor, said Davis was diligent in understanding what was going on in each IT department.

Kumar said Davis meets every year with the departments in small groups to learn about their research and requests in detail.

“He’s very conscious that a good leader must not only talk the talk but walk the walk,” said Kumar, who served as assistant dean under Davis for seven years. “He leads by example.”

Davis handled difficult situations by building a consensus among faculty and students before making decisions, said Pen-Chung Yew, head of the computer science and engineering department.

“He has a very easygoing personality,” Yew said. “It’s always pleasant to be with him no matter how difficult issues are or how tough problems are.”

Davis convinced the Legislature to fund extra faculty positions in the computer science department, Yew said.

Davis began his career at the University in 1963 as an assistant professor. In 1980 he became head of the chemical engineering department.

After stepping down as dean, Davis will return to a faculty teaching position.

“I’ve been dean for nine years, which is a long time, and I felt like it was time for some new blood,” Davis said.

University Executive Vice President Christine Maziar said she expects Davis’ replacement to be chosen before he steps down.

The search committee will include University alumni, faculty and representatives from area technology companies, she said.