Dankowicz to Become Chair of UMD Mechanical Engineering

Harry Dankowicz has been named chair of the UMD Mechanical Engineering department.

Harry Dankowicz, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), will become the new chair of the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dean Samuel Graham, Jr. of the A. James Clark School of Engineering announced Monday (July 10).

He will take up the position on January 1, 2024.

“I am excited by the energy and initiative Dr. Dankowicz will bring to the Clark School, helping to promote our tradition of exceptional scholarship, engineering innovation, cutting-edge educational programming, and committed service to the needs of humanity,” Graham said. He expressed his thanks to the current chair, Bala Balachandran, for his strong leadership of the department, which he has chaired since 2010.

Dankowicz said he looks forward to helping the department build on its achievements. “I have held the ME department and the Clark School in high regard throughout my career and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to its success and support the well-being and professional growth of its students, faculty, and staff,” he said. 

“I'm inspired by the values of integrity, innovation, inclusivity, engagement, and partnership that frame their aspirations and aim to help harness these for the widest possible benefit,” Dankowicz said.

A Ph.D. graduate of Cornell University’s Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Dankowicz  conducts research on dynamical systems and control with recent emphasis on applications of robotics to agriculture, modeling of networks and complex systems, and optimization and sensitivity analysis of systems with delay. His publications include textbooks on chaotic dynamics, multibody system dynamics, and parameter continuation techniques, as well as a patent on a self-calibrating mass flow sensor system for harvest combines.

He is a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as the Fred Merryfield Design Award and Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society For Engineering Education. He was elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 2012. Between 2012 and 2022, Dankowicz served as Editor-in-Chief for ASME Applied Mechanics Reviews, advancing scholarship and impact in service of the applied mechanics and engineering science communities, including the recruitment of a diverse editorial board, creation of cross-disciplinary partnerships, and production of a podcast series.

Dankowicz has taken on significant service and leadership roles during the course of his career. At UI, he served between 2016 and 2021 as associate dean for graduate, professional and online programs in the university’s Grainger College of Engineering, with responsibility for strategic leadership and critical academic initiatives across all areas of graduate and professional education. Since 2021, he has been a National Science Foundation (NSF) program director in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

In addition, Dankowicz has contributed to efforts to broaden participation in higher education, scholarship, and research through dedicated graduate fellowships; advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion policies for ASME journals; and development of technical vocational training programs serving students from socio-economically disadvantaged communities in Mexico.

Founded in 1894,  the UMD mechanical engineering department was the first engineering department to be established at the university. It has 46 tenured faculty and is home to six leading research centers: the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), the Center for Engineering Concepts and Development (CECD), the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE), the Center for Risk and Reliability (CRR), the Center for Sustainability in the Built Environment (City@UMD), and the Industrial AI Center.




Published July 10, 2023