Coley named Western Engineering Dean

Nationally renowned researcher, educator and administrator Ken Coley has been named the next Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, effective July 1, Andrew Hrymak, Western Provost and Vice-President (Academic), announced Friday.


Currently a Materials Science and Engineering professor at McMaster University, Coley holds the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Chair in Ferrous Metallurgy and serves as Director of the Steel Research Centre in Hamilton. He is an award-winning researcher who, most recently, was honoured with the John F. Elliott Lectureship Award from the Association of Iron & Steel Technology.

“In Ken, we see the kind of outstanding academic leader Western has become known for recruiting,” Hrymak said. “Innovative in his ideas about teaching and research, Ken has a clear vision about the future direction of engineering combined with an impressive ability to connect with and energize Western Engineering students, faculty and industry partners. He will be a tremendous asset to this great institution.”

Coley joined McMaster in 1996 as an associate professor and gained tenure in 1999. He served as Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department from 2005-09, during which time the number of undergraduate students enrolled in the program doubled.

Prior to McMaster, he was the British Steel Lecturer in Process Metallurgy at University of Strathclyde from 1989-96. Prior to that, he was a senior scientific officer at the National Physical Laboratory (UK) from 1986-89.

As Associate Dean (Academic) at McMaster, Coley successfully led initiatives which saw the first- to second-year undergraduate student attrition rate drop from 22 per cent to less than 4.5 per cent. He played a leading role in the design of the school’s Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Program and, most recently, has been leading the implementation of McMaster Engineering’s The Pivot initiative to transform undergraduate education.

“This is an exciting opportunity and a challenge which I relish,” said Coley, who earned his PhD from Imperial College (London, England). “I will be joining a faculty in excellent shape and poised to grow even more in stature.”

Coley’s appointment follows Hrymak, the former Engineering Dean who was named Western’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic) in April 2018. Engineering professor Greg Kopp has served as Acting Dean since Hrymak’s departure.