RWU Selects Robert Griffin as Dean of the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management

As dean, Griffin will provide strategic leadership toward innovative program development and industry partnerships

By Jill Rodrigues '05
Robert Griffin

BRISTOL, R.I. – Roger Williams University has chosen Robert J. Griffin, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and former interim dean of the engineering school at Rice University, as the next dean of the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management (SECCM).

Griffin comes to RWU with more than 20 years of experience as an educator, an academic leader and an award-winning researcher in engineering. He most recently has worked as interim dean and senior associate dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“A respected academic leader and scholar, Dr. Griffin will provide exceptional leadership and vision for the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management,” said RWU President Ioannis Miaoulis. “I am confident that Dr. Griffin will elevate SECCM’s capacity to provide our students with the real-world training, industry connections, and experiential learning opportunities that make our graduates in demand for a variety of professional careers.”

Griffin was selected following a nationwide search for candidates.

“I am delighted to have Rob Griffin join us as the next Dean of the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management,” said RWU Provost Margaret Everett. “Rob brings an outstanding record as an award-winning instructor, accomplished researcher and academic leader to RWU. Throughout the interview process, it was clear that Dr. Griffin can lead the school with a bold agenda of enrollment growth and program development, engaged scholarship and industry partnerships.” 

Griffin said he is honored to serve as dean of RWU’s School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management. He will begin working at RWU on July 1.

“I am happy to be given the opportunity to join the leadership team at Roger Williams University,” said Griffin. “I look forward to working with President Miaoulis, Provost Everett, and the school faculty, staff and students to make SECCM even stronger than it already is. I am excited to join this tight-knit community where the focus is on delivery of cutting-edge education to highly intelligent and motivated students.”

Since 2019, Griffin has served as Rice University’s senior associate dean, and for a time as interim dean, where he helped to implement a strategic plan to advance research impact and enhance partnerships with the City of Houston, the Texas Medical Center, local industry, and global technology companies. He also led efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion among the engineering school and to assess student services, with the aim of improving retention and success of underrepresented and minority students.

As chair of Rice’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Griffin focused on pedagogical excellence and research impact. He managed departmental operations on major research efforts and federally funded projects that included infrastructure design, hydrology, and water and air quality improvements. He supported a successful proposal to have Rice University serve as headquarters for the Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center.

In addition to teaching engineering at Rice, he has taught at the University of New Hampshire and Duke University. He has authored and co-authored more than 100 research articles in air pollution and atmospheric chemistry, and has been recognized with an NSF Career Award, a NASA Science Team award, Rice University’s Teaching Plus Research Excellence Award, and mentee awards from the American Meteorological Society and the Air and Waste Management Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association for Aerosol Research and on the Independent Technical Advisory Committee of the Air Quality Research Program for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and M.S. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Tufts University.