New CEOE dean
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University June 14, 2017
Estella Atekwana named dean of UD College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
Estella Atekwana, head of the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University, has been named the new dean of the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.
“Estella’s track record of academic excellence and her work to engage with researchers around the globe to develop an internationally recognized research program make her a perfect choice to lead CEOE,” said Provost Domenico Grasso. “She also brings with her extensive fund-raising and alumni engagement experience, as well as a passion for cultivating, recruiting and inspiring diverse and dynamic faculty and students, which will be of great benefit not only to the college, but to our University as a whole.”
Atekwana has received a number of honors and awards for excellence in teaching and research, including the 2016 Society of Exploration Geophysicists Outstanding Educator Award, Regents Professor and the 2015 Oklahoma State University Eminent Faculty Award, which is awarded to a faculty member who has made sustained contributions to scholarly creativity, teaching and service, bringing honor and recognition to OSU.
She describes her management style as keeping students first, listening to all parties involved in university governance, working collaboratively with faculty and communicating frequently to increase transparency and awareness. In addition, she said she leads by example when pursuing a shared institutional vision and strategic goals.
“Dr. Atekwana’s vision, commitment to inclusive excellence and ability to lead interdisciplinary teams of scholars to pursue complex problems in earth, ocean and environment will be invaluable assets in promoting excellence in education and guiding a high-impact research and policy agenda,” said President Dennis Assanis. “We are pleased to have Estella and her family join our Blue Hen family.”
Atekwana has led OSU’s Boone Pickens School of Geology since 2013. She is also an adjunct professor at both the University of Waterloo and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. She taught at Missouri University of Science and Technology for several years before joining Oklahoma State in 2006. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor at Western Michigan University after completing graduate school.
“I am truly honored and very excited to be part of the senior leadership team at UD as the next dean of CEOE,” Atekwana said. “The vision and goals that the president and provost have outlined for UD are congruent with my vision and my ideas for shaping, fostering and maintaining a world-class academic institution well beyond the 21st century. As a result, I am really looking forward to working with CEOE students, faculty, staff and alumni as a team to translate this vision to reality.”
She said her first goal will be to get to know the students, faculty, staff, alumni and campus community, so she can bring all stakeholders together to chart a course forward.
“I believe that together, we will build a preeminent College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment that is recognized globally and that can withstand future competitive challenges,” Atekwana said.
The new dean was selected after a national search.
“I want to thank the search committee members for their diligent and thorough work in reviewing and interviewing candidates before thoughtfully deliberating to make the best decision for CEOE and the University,” Grasso said. “I also want to offer my sincere thanks to Mohsen Badiey for his dedicated leadership of the college as interim dean for the past two years. His commitment to CEOE, its students, faculty and staff has been vital to the college’s success, and we truly appreciate him stepping in during this transition period.”
Atekwana earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology at Howard University, and her Ph.D. in geophysics at Dalhousie University. She and her husband, Eliot, have three children, Kyle, Kyra and Kyne.