The Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) Department at CU-Boulder recently experienced a change of hands as Keith Molenaar, PhD, professor of civil engineering, completed his four-year term as the CEAE Department Chair and passed such duties and responsibilities to his colleague, Balaji Rajagopalan, PhD, professor of civil engineering, on July 1.
As the new department chair, Balaji has made it his priority to continue to improve upon the inner workings of the department in an effort to further boost its national standing.
“My main goal is to build on our success [and] enhance the impressive quality and visibility of our program,” Balaji said.
“Our graduate programs are ranked 13th and 9th among all private and public universities, respectively, by U.S. News and World Report,” Balaji said. “With our superb faculty and students my aim is to improve upon these rankings of both our graduate and undergraduate programs.”
Acting as department chair requires a great deal of time and attention, yet his passion for teaching will surely play a part during his time as chair, as he plans to continue teaching at a reduced level.
“I love to teach and find it highly rewarding to help play a small part in preparing the future generation of engineers,” Balaji said.
Balaji’s educational, personal and work experiences seem to make him a perfect fit for the position. He received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Regional Engineering College in India in 1989, his master’s degree in Operations Research and Reliability from Indian Statistical Institute in 1991, and his PhD in Stochastic Hydrology and Water Resources from Utah State University in 1995.
Directly after receiving his PhD, Balaji worked as a research scientist for Columbia University in New York for five years. In 2000, he joined the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department at CU-Boulder.