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Litynski leads WMU research initiatives

Jan. 1, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Veteran researcher and administrator Dr. Daniel M. Litynski has been named vice president for research at Western Michigan University, effective today. Litynski's appointment was announced Dec. 22 by President John M. Dunn.

Litynski, whose appointment was made pending approval of the WMU Board of Trustees, assumes the post following a search process that included consultation with members of the University community and campuswide feedback. A familiar figure on campus for the past decade, he is a professor of electrical and computer engineering who has held such positions as engineering dean, provost and interim WMU president.

"Dr. Litynski brings an enormous body of experience and a critical set of leadership skills for our research enterprise," said Dunn of the appointment. "Not only is he a highly regarded researcher in his own right, but he has also spent time in Washington, D.C., over the past few years and has become intimately familiar with federal funding practices and the organization of agencies like the National Science Foundation, where he served as a visiting program director. Those attributes and his deep knowledge of our University mean our research goals will be in the best possible hands as we move forward."

Litynski, a tenured faculty member, served as dean of WMU's engineering college from 1999 to 2002, before being tapped to serve as the University's provost and vice president for academic affairs. After just four months in that role, he became WMU's interim president for six months, and then resumed his duties as chief academic officer. He stepped down from the provost position in June 2004 and, after an administrative leave of absence, accepted a visiting position with the National Science Foundation, serving as program director for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He later was appointed acting division director of the NSF's Division of Undergraduate Education in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources.

"This University is a special place," says Litynski. "Knowledge creation and research are part of our core mission and are intertwined with our educational role. We have been building our research capabilities for several decades and have made substantial gains in the past 20 years. All the while, though, we've kept our focus on our students, nurturing the creative process in them and helping them learn to build teams of creative people who can realize the potential of great ideas. On behalf of the University, I want to be a facilitator who can not only encourage individual entrepreneurship, but also bring together and integrate all the critical components--people and organizations--that will help our region prosper."

Litynski returned to Kalamazoo from Washington, D.C., early in 2008 and planned to resume teaching duties at WMU that fall. Instead, he was tapped to serve the engineering college again as dean for a year, during the search for that college's current leader, Dr. Anthony J. Vizzini, who took the reins of the college this past July.

Litynski's background includes 23 years of service at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he ended his tenure as professor and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. A decorated veteran, Litynksi retired from the U.S. Army as a brigadier general shortly before starting his work at WMU.

He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1965, a master's degree in optics from the University of Rochester in 1971 and a doctoral degree in physics from Rensselaer in 1978.

Litynski has been active in research and teaching in electrical engineering, optics and physics for more than 25 years, and he has taught 20 different courses, including two he initiated in laser physics and photonics engineering. Active also in laser and electro-optic research, he is a patent holder and the author or co-author of many international conference presentations, technical papers and book chapters. He has served in numerous technical and advisory capacities, has been appointed to six honor societies and is a member of seven professional societies. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and past president of the IEEE Education Society.

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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