New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has announced the appointment of civil engineer and natural disaster specialist Priscilla Nelson, PhD, to the position of provost. Nelson, a senior executive at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a former University of Texas professor, is internationally recognized for achievements in engineering research and education, and her service in leadership roles and professional societies.
“Dr. Nelson, who numbers among the world’s foremost geotechnical engineering experts, enjoys a national and international reputation in geological and rock engineering. Her forte is design and construction of underground facilities and tunnels,” said Robert A. Altenkirch, PhD, president of NJIT. “Coupling these academic strengths with her strong government experience, she will bring to NJIT a unique combination of skills. The appointment of Dr. Nelson will enrich NJIT’s commitment to undergraduate and graduate education. She will strengthen our programs, enhance our diversity initiatives and help students use their innate capabilities of creativity and discovery.”
“President Altenkirch has done an excellent job in filling the provost position with Dr. Nelson,” said NJIT Board of Trustees Chairman Kathleen Wielkopolski. “The Provost is the university’s chief academic officer and is responsible for working with the president on establishing and implementing the strategic academic objectives of the university. Dr. Nelson's experience at the National Science Foundation and her previous academic experiences have prepared her for this challenging position. Dr. Nelson is also an excellent role model for our female students at NJIT. I welcome Dr. Nelson to NJIT’s senior administration team.” Wielkopolski is executive vice president and chief financial strategy officer of the Gale Company, Florham Park.
"Priscilla Nelson has been a productive and innovative member of NSF's leadership," said Joseph Bordogna, PhD, deputy director of the National Science Foundation. "The agency will miss not only her considerable intellectual skills and professional integrity but also her insights on resolving complex issues and her imaginative ways of approaching the frontiers of science and engineering. We wish her well in her return to academe."
Nelson said she was delighted to be joining NJIT, and becoming a part of its diverse and inclusive community. “I welcome the opportunity to provide leadership and vision for the future of this very special university,” she said. “To me, NJIT is an institution where learning, research, innovation and engagement are holistically integrated into the careers of everyone on campus.”
Nelson holds a bachelor’s of science degree in geological sciences from the University of Rochester. She earned a master’s degree in geology from Indiana University, a master’s degree in civil engineering with a concentration in structural engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in civil engineering with an emphasis on geotechnical engineering from Cornell University.