Rod C. Alferness, the chief scientist
for Bell Laboratories, accepted an
appointment to serve as UCSB’s next
Dean of the College of Engineering.
Alferness will assume the position
of Dean’s Chair and the Richard
A. Auhll Professorship on Sept. 1,
pending approval from UC President
Mark G. Yudof and the UC Board of
Regents. Alferness will replace acting
Dean Larry Coldren to oversee the
Alferness’ duties will include procuring
funds to continue the institute’s
research and expand its faculty.
“I see him as being very effective at
getting discretionary funding, which is
one of the major charges any dean has,”
Coldren said. “The second charge he
has is to hire top-notch faculty, because
the talent of the faculty feeds on itself
and helps raise the quality of the college
as a whole.”
Alferness served as senior vice president
of research in addition to his
current title as chief scientist during
his tenure at Bell Laboratories. A subsidiary
of the French-owned Alcatel-
Lucent global telecommunications
corporation, the laboratories focus on
research and development of communications
technology including wireless
broadband, network optimization and
multimedia. In addition to his research
into semiconductor photonic circuits
and the possibility of reconfiguring
wavelength-routed optical networks,
Alferness’ scientific accomplishments
include helping to invent a family of
waveguide electro-optic devices.
Pierre Wiltzius, UCSB’s dean
of Mathematical, Life and Physical
Sciences, said Alferness’ extensive
background as an engineer and scientist
qualifies him to lead UCSB’s top-notch
engineering program.
“A dean has to have great academic
standing and should have a great vision
for what the college should look like
in five or 10 years,” Wiltzius said.
“[Alferness] has a very broad view of
the world and understands the importance
of collaboration between the sciences
and engineering.”
Alferness served as the president of the
Optical Society of America and Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.