Priscilla P. Nelson, PhD, has announced that she will resign her position as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at New Jersey Institute of Technology, effective November 28, 2008, to pursue the university’s special projects related to international program development.
NJIT President Robert A. Altenkirch took note of Dr. Nelson’s decision to enter a new phase in her academic career: “The university has new program and partnership opportunities in China and Dubai, which require an extensive, full time effort. Given Dr. Nelson’s interests, this makes a compelling new assignment for her. As NJIT’s first woman provost, Dr. Nelson has enriched the university’s commitment to diversity and to the integration of undergraduate and graduate research and education. She has strengthened our programs, faculty and helped students use their innate capabilities of creativity and discovery.” During Dr. Nelson’s tenure, the university added more than 17 new academic programs, and four colleges successfully completed reaccreditation.”
Nelson joined NJIT as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in 2005. Prior to joining NJIT, she was with the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 11 years in several successive positions, culminating in her role as senior advisor to the director of NSF. While with NSF, she received the Director's Award for Integrative Collaboration four times, the Director's Award for Meritorious Service in 1997, and the Director's Award for Superior Accomplishment from the NSF in 1999.
Nelson was a professor of civil engineering at The University of Texas at Austin from 1983 through 1996. Her recognitions include: the Case Studies Award from the U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics (NAE, 1988), the Basic Research Award from the U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics (NAE, 1993), election to The Moles, an association of the heavy construction industry (1995), and induction into Tau Beta Pi as an Eminent Engineer (2007). In 2008, she received the Kenneth Andrew Roe Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies.
Further, Nelson is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), former president of the Geo-Institute of ASCE, and a lifetime member, Fellow and first president of the American Rock Mechanics Association. She is an elected Fellow and serves as the current Chair of the Engineering Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was a member of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, appointed by President Clinton in 1997 and reappointed in 2000. She currently serves on the advisory committees for Cyber Infrastructure and for Environmental Research and Education at the NSF.
Nelson holds three earned advanced degrees including master's degrees in geology, from Indiana University, and in structural engineering from the University of Oklahoma. In 1983, she received her PhD in geotechnical engineering from Cornell University.