Long-time civil engineering professor assumes new role

After a nationwide search, Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs Lynn Okagaki has announced that Michael Chajes has been named director of the University of Delaware Honors Program, effective July 1, 2019. Chajes will provide leadership for the Honors Program and work with faculty and staff to implement the newly approved interdisciplinary Honors track and enhance the major-specific Honors Program.

In making the announcement, Okagaki said, “Michael Chajes brings a wealth of experience, energy and commitment to this position. I know that the faculty, staff and students will benefit from Michael’s leadership and commitment.”

“I am tremendously grateful to have the opportunity to serve as the next director of UD’s Honors Program,” Chajes said. “Having served as an Honors adviser for many years and worked with Honors students in my classes and in my lab, I know what amazing students are involved in the program. I look forward to working with all members of the campus community to make the University Honors Program the very best it can be.”

Chajes earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and graduated with honors. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from the University of California at Davis.

Joining the UD faculty in 1990, Chajes has served as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and dean of the College of Engineering. He has taught classes and conducted research in the areas of structural engineering, structural health monitoring of bridges and applications of sustainability.

Chajes serves as co-chair of UD’s Sustainability Task Force; member of the University Faculty Board on Athletics; chair of the Faculty Senate Student and Faculty Honors Committee; and member of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee. He also serves on the state of Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility Board.

Okagaki also thanked Interim Director Rusty Lee and the search committee, which included Iain Crawford, associate professor of English and director, Undergraduate Research Program; Carlos Asarta, professor of economics and director, Center for Economics Education and Entrepreneurship; Sujata Bhatia professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director, McNair Scholars Program; Jama Allegretto, associate director of the University Honors Program; Paul Quinn, Trustees Distinguished Professor of Psychological Brain Sciences; Bob Hampel, professor in the School of Education; and Lori Koval, associate director, Talent Acquisition.

About the Honors Program

The University of Delaware Honors program has earned a national reputation for both the rigor and creativity of its program and for the quality of its students. Students are encouraged to expand their studies by pursuing educational opportunities both inside and outside the classroom and by giving back to the community.

Hallmarks of the program include smaller classes, challenging curricula, academic planning assistance, emphasis on writing and discussion, first-year interdisciplinary colloquia and connections with faculty.