Civil Engineering Department Appoints New Chair

20161005-jlh-coe-anne-raich-classroom-016This summer Anne Raich, Ph.D., joined the College of Engineering as department chair and associate professor of civil engineering.

“I am pleased to welcome Anne to the outstanding group of gifted and passionate faculty that comprises the College of Engineering,” says Eric W. Johnson ’87, Ph.D., dean of the college of engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Anne will play an important role as a teacher, mentor, and leader, challenging students inside the classroom and expanding student engagement outside the classroom. I look forward to working closely with Anne as we strengthen Valpo’s civil engineering program and possible expand into new areas.”

Prior to her arrival at Valpo, Professor Raich served for more than a decade at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., where she taught structural analysis and design courses; mentored nearly 40 students through summer research or honor thesis experiences; and led two of the engineering study abroad programs. Her tenure at Lafayette College ended after serving as interim department head for civil engineering during her final year.

“I was drawn to Valparaiso University due to the value placed on undergraduate education and service,” Professor Raich says. “This position will allow me to focus on undergraduate engineering education initiatives that seek to produce technically confident, service-oriented engineers.”

20161005-jlh-coe-anne-raich-classroom-036Professor Raich’s research is primarily computational in nature, and her scholarly expertise is in solving inverse problems in engineering using soft computing methods and analyzing, designing, and optimizing structural systems. Mentorship of undergraduate researchers is an integral component of her research activities. Valpo is the ideal environment for Professor Raich as the University is committed to providing ample opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate on cutting-edge research for the benefit of society.

Professor Raich also brings with her four years of experience as a structural engineer, working on a number of school, mall, and prison design projects. Her background in the industry broadens the scope of expertise within the civil engineering department and advances the quality of education in the classroom through demonstration of how theory plays out in the real world. By closing the gap between theoretical instruction and real-world application, students will acquire the practical skills necessary for success in the industry.

Professor Raich holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master of science in civil engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a bachelor of science in civil engineering from West Virginia University. She is professionally affiliated with the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, and Mortar Board.

In her personal life, she enjoys quilting, travel, and the outdoors, particularly skiing. She and her family plan frequent ski trips across the country.

“I am committed to the support and creation of new student opportunities and increasing student success,” Professor Raich says. “Through pursuit of inventive research, pedagogical innovation in the classroom, and student mentorship, I am confident I can have an impact on countless students here at Valpo.”