University of Colorado Boulder Engineering and Applied Science Dean Bobby Braun announced today that he is leaving the college in January 2020 to pursue work at NASA. Braun will be joining the space department’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory executive leadership team, a division of the California Institute of Technology.
“While this new leadership position is highly aligned with my personal interests and experience, this was a difficult decision for me because of the respect and admiration I have for our college team and the path forward we have chartered together,” Braun said in an open letter. “It has been a privilege to serve as dean of this college and an honor to work with you in setting a new course for the college’s future.”
Braun previously worked as the Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech and worked on the Mars Pathfinder mission from 1992 to 1997. He has received the NASA Group Achievement Award nine times and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award twice. He is also the former chief technologist at the NASA Langley Research Center, having worked at NASA for over 16 years before joining CU in 2017.
As dean of CU’s engineering school, Braun helped increase enrollment rates and launched a strategic initiative for the school to be the first public engineering college to have equal gender admissions for first-year students. According to Braun, the engineering college has been increasing the amount of female students by a rate of about 2% per year. In the past 10 years, the college has doubled its number of female students in incoming classes from around 20% in 2008 to 40% in 2018.
Braun also created a partnership with Colorado Mesa University which allows students in western Colorado the opportunity to earn CU Boulder engineering and computer science degrees. In August, Braun joined with students and faculty to officially open the college’s new $101 million aerospace building, which occupies roughly 175,000 square feet on CU’s East Campus.
In a statement, CU Provost Russell Moore commended many of Braun’s efforts throughout his tenure.
“Whether by growing and diversifying our enrollment of talented students, launching a new aerospace building, or creating external partnerships for the campus, Bobby has been instrumental in strengthening our impact and reputation as a national leader in engineering,” Moore said.
Moore is expected to announce an interim dean in the coming weeks.
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Tory Lysik at email@example.com