Sibel Pamukcu, professor of geotechnical engineering, became the interim chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering on July 1. Clay Naito, associate professor of structural engineering, replaces Pamukcu as associate chair.

Complementary disciplines, collective strengths

Sibel PamukcuAs a geotechnical engineer, building strong, supportive foundations is familiar terrain for Pamukcu. It’s knowledge that should serve her well in her new leadership role.

Pamukcu inherits a time-honored, nationally ranked program, internationally known for the caliber of its faculty, lab facilities, and research strengths.

Job one, as she sees it, is to mobilize CEE’s talents and assets into a singular student experience. Goal one is to equip CEE students with the knowledge, skills and desire to better our world.

“Some of society’s most pressing problems lie at the intersection of civil and environmental engineering,” says Pamukcu. “And our students can help solve them right here at Lehigh—from improving global access to clean, safe water to ensuring the sustainability of our built environment for years to come.

“It’s an exciting, important time to become a civil or environmental engineer, and CEE at Lehigh is an exceptional place to learn. I look forward hopefully to all that our faculty, staff and students will accomplish together.”

Clay NaitoMatching curriculum to the needs of our students, times

Clay Naito understands well the civil engineering challenges that lie ahead for CEE graduates. From earthquakes and tsunamis to the effects of man-made explosions, he’s witnessed many of them first-hand.

It’s research experience that the structural engineer and newly minted associate chair will aim at CEE program decisions going forward.

“What distinguishes CEE at Lehigh is a combination of excellent undergraduate teaching and cutting-edge research in the sub-disciplines of structural, environmental and geotechnical engineering,” says Naito. “As associate chair, I will work to further strengthen our undergraduate curriculum while helping to evaluate how our graduate program can best meet the needs of both the faculty and graduate student body.”

Stephen PessikiWith appreciation

Pamukcu takes the department helm from Stephen Pessiki, who stepped down from the chairmanship after six years of service. “We thank Steve for his hard work, vision and dedication to the department, and wish him well as he returns to his research and teaching,” says Pamukcu.