Published: Oct. 5, 2005

Stein Sture, associate dean for research at the University of Colorado at Boulder's engineering college, has been appointed interim dean of CU-Boulder's Graduate School and vice chancellor for research.

Sture's appointment fills positions vacated by Susan Avery, formerly CU-Boulder's top research official. Avery recently was appointed CU-Boulder's interim provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs by Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano.

Sture, who has been on the CU-Boulder faculty since 1980, is a professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering at the CU-Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science. He served as chair of the department from 1990 to 1991 and again from 1994 to 1998. He has served as associate dean for research in the engineering college since 2002.

"I am pleased to recommend Professor Sture for this critical leadership position on the Boulder campus," said DiStefano. "These qualities will be crucial in helping us maintain our momentum during this interim period. I look forward to working very closely with Professor Sture on the important issues related to CU-Boulder's research enterprise and graduate education programs."

"This is an exciting challenge for me," said Sture. "I'm greatly looking forward to it, and I'm rolling up my sleeves." Sture's salary will be $212,000.

Sture said he believes that expanding graduate education at CU-Boulder is essential. The current ratio of undergraduates to graduate students is about 5-1, much higher than the ratio of 2-1 at many of CU-Boulder's peer institutions, he said.

"Graduate education is extremely important to this campus," said Sture. "I firmly believe it makes the faculty better and the university stronger. It puts our feet to the fire and encourages better research and scholarly work."

He said CU-Boulder is searching for ways to increase financial support for scholarships, fellowships and assistantships in graduate teaching and research. "Right now, non-resident tuition is prohibitive for many students from elsewhere in the U.S., and from places like Europe and South America," he said. "We need a more sensible graduate tuition model that will make us more accessible as a campus."

Regarding sponsored research at CU-Boulder, Sture said he believes the flat trend in the federal research and development budget can be best addressed by expanding coalitions and collaborations with other institutes and industry. This includes strengthening alliances between the business community and departments across campus, including those in the arts and humanities.

"Universities like CU-Boulder can be of great help to industry on a wide range of issues, from basic research to helping in product development," he said. "I think there are many potential opportunities out there for us."

Sture also said CU-Boulder will be strengthening its efforts to secure "earmarked" federal research initiatives, including those in energy, biotechnology, biosciences and nanotechnology. "If we ramp up our efforts, I'm confident we can make a more significant contribution in these areas," he said.

Sture's own research interests are in solid mechanics, computational mechanics and geotechnical engineering. He has authored more than 230 peer-reviewed publications and more than 85 research reports.

He has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 60 research projects sponsored by agencies like NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sture has received a number of national awards for his research and service, serves on dozens of national committees and advisory boards and has advised 24 doctoral students and 39 master's students during his tenure at CU-Boulder. He is an active member of 13 professional and scientific societies.