Accomplished scientist and educator named as the chief academic officer at Lawrence Tech

Release Date: June 3, 2020
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Tarek M. Sobh, new vice president of academic affairs and provost at Lawrence Technological University

Tarek M. Sobh, the interim provost at the University of Bridgeport (UB) as well as UB’s executive vice president of research and economic development and founding dean of its College of Engineering, Business, and Education, has been named vice president of academic affairs and provost at Lawrence Technological University.

Sobh’s appointment is effective Sept. 1 and concludes a national search, said LTU President and CEO Virinder K. Moudgil, who made the announcement.

“In Dr. Sobh, we feel we have found an internationally recognized educational leader who will help us continue to improve Lawrence Tech’s strong academic programs, expand our service to the professions and the region, and assure that our graduates are well prepared for the challenges of the shifting global economy,” Moudgil said. “Dr. Sobh is also an exemplary scientist and scholar and through his research, writings, and presentations, has added much to the field of engineering and other technological professions.”

 As provost, Sobh (pronounced soap) will oversee LTU’s four colleges, its library, and LTU’s offices of eLearning, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, and Corporate and Community Partnerships.

“I am honored to be named the provost at LTU and very much look forward to working with the Lawrence Tech community,” Sobh said. “LTU is an exceptional institution that has positively impacted the lives of generations of students and improved the world through scholarship, discovery, and community service. Having spent 30-plus years in academia, I believe in the tremendous potential of LTU to be the premier educational institution in the region, which provides its students and faculty with opportunities to achieve significant academic objectives, resulting in top-notch education and scholarly accomplishments.”

Sobh added that, “I am confident that through faculty and administration initiatives, LTU will continue to advance its leadership role in the local and global communities, academia, and industry. I look forward to being a catalyst within this process as an agent of positive change who can help move forward many of these exciting endeavors and activities.”

Sobh succeeds Maria J. Vaz, who has served on LTU’s faculty since 1984 and as provost since 2006. She will retire on June 30 and has held a large number of leadership posts at LTU. Last year, Crain’s Detroit Business named her among its 2019 Notable Women in STEM.

Sobh is also distinguished professor of engineering and computer science at UB, a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, and member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. A licensed professional engineer with many additional certifications, Sobh received the B.Sc. in engineering degree with honors from Alexandria University in Egypt, and MS and PhD degrees in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the founding director of UB’s Interdisciplinary Robotics, Intelligent Sensing, and Control (RISC) laboratory, founder of the High-Tech Business Incubator at UB, and founding director of the UB Innovation Center. He began his academic career as research assistant professor of computer science at the University of Utah. His background is in the fields of computer science and engineering, robotics, automation, control theory, STEM education, manufacturing, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and signal processing.

Sobh has published over 250 refereed journal and conference papers, and book chapters in these and other areas, in addition to 27 books. He has served or currently serves on the editorial boards of 18 journals, and has served as chair and on the program committees of over 300 international conferences and workshops in robotics, automation, sensing, computing, systems, control, online engineering, and engineering education. He has presented more than 150 keynote speeches, invited talks and lectures, colloquia, and seminars at research meetings, university departments, research centers, and companies. He has supervised over 50 award-winning graduate and undergraduate students working on different projects within robotics, prototyping, computer vision, control, and manufacturing, as well as more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students working on their bachelor’s projects, master’s thesis or PhD dissertations.

Sobh also consults and provides service to industrial organizations and companies, including companies in the United States, Switzerland, India, Malaysia, England, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, and Egypt. He has received over 60 research awards and grants and received the ASEE Northeastern U.S. Distinguished Engineering Professor of the Year award, the IEEE Northeast Technological Innovation Research Award, an ACE Higher Education Award and many other recognitions of his educational, research, scholarly, and service activities in engineering, education, computing, and diversity initiatives.

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Maria Vaz, who is retiring as LTU provost effective June 30.

 Regarding LTU’s retiring Provost Vaz, Moudgil said, “There are few aspects of the core responsibilities of our University that have not received the benefit of her engagement and leadership. She has been a key member of our leadership team and her positive influence on LTU’s programs, our students, faculty, and general academic stature cannot be overemphasized. Through her achievements and interests, she has had a huge impact on the improvement and blossoming of STEM (STEAM) education opportunities, both at the collegiate level and for our precollege outreach programs.”

Vaz led and supported the development and implementation of new undergraduate and graduate programs that differentiate Lawrence Tech. Among them are biomedical. robotics, architectural, and industrial engineering; chemical biology; molecular and cell biology; media communication; transportation design; and game art. She also oversaw the launch of LTU’s Bachelor of Science in nursing program in partnership with Ascension Providence. She holds a master’s and PhD in physics from Kent State University. Vaz is also a trustee of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 15 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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