Jeffrey Ray
Western Carolina University
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Jeffrey Ray, is currently Dean of the Kimmel School at Western Carolina University. Prior to joining Western Carolina University, he was dean of Engineering Technology and Management, at Southern Polytechnic State University, in Marietta, Georgia. He previously served as Director of Grand Valley State University’s School of Engineering, in addition to overseeing the interdisciplinary industry-sponsored senior capstone design program. Ray serves on the American Society of Engineering Education’s Executive Board as Vice President, Institutional Councils and as Chair of the Engineering Technology Council. Dr. Ray joined the SPSU faculty in August 2007 and holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University. He received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Technological University. As an educator, Ray likes to draw on his precollege experience as a journeyman industrial electrician and a production troubleshooter. In an era of videos and online learning, Ray believes there is no substitute for a lab where students can hear and see something operate and malfunction, or one for real-world industry-sponsored projects in the classroom. Ray’s attention to diversity issues, contacts with the K-12 community, and outreach to minority service organizations has helped SPSU – though not a historically black institution — graduate the most African American males with bachelor’s degrees in engineering technology two years running. Ray has been similarly proactive in keeping SPSU’s engineering technology programs viable in the face of growing competition for undergraduates. When Georgia allowed an expansion of traditional engineering programs, pulling students away from his school, Ray and his colleagues worked out a statewide 2-plus-2 articulation agreement to admit students from the Technical College System of Georgia. A Tennessee native, Ray spent five years as an electrician before entering Tennessee Technological University and moving from there to Vanderbilt for his Ph.D., conducting research in the mechanical engineering department and the Medical Center’s orthopaedics unit.

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