College of Engineering names newly established assistant dean

Ivan Esparragoza, director of engineering technology and commonwealth engineering at Penn State, will be the assistant dean for curricular innovation and program assessment


By Tessa M. Pick

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ivan Esparragoza, director of engineering technology and commonwealth engineering (ETCE) and professor of engineering design at Penn State, has been named the assistant dean for curricular innovation and program assessment, a newly established position in the Penn State College of Engineering. He will begin on July 1.

“Dr. Esparragoza’s experience in building relationships and fostering collaborations with every institute and campus he works with will help him truly excel in this new position,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “We are very excited to have him on our college leadership team and can’t wait to see the curricular and program innovations he provides for our students.”

In an ongoing effort to provide Penn State engineering students with a prestigious education, the need for an assistant dean focused on curricular innovation and program assessment emerged. In this new position, Esparragoza will oversee numerous functions that drive curriculum in the college — including first-year engineering seminar courses, the accreditation process for engineering programs, the annual assessment of engineering graduate and certificate programs, first- and second-year engineering education, and the partnership between the College of Engineering and the Commonwealth Campuses.

“I plan to identify opportunities for significant curricular innovations at undergraduate and graduate levels through in-depth assessments,” Esparragoza said. “I want to develop collaborative approaches to achieve those innovations, working closely with different units within the college and the University.”

As the current director of the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Program’s ETCE program, Esparragoza coordinates engineering and engineering technology programs offered at the University’s Commonwealth Campuses. According to Esparragoza, his director duties closely align with those of his new assistant dean position. Managing curricular changes, new courses development, and the ABET accreditation process for two engineering programs and five engineering technology programs has given Esparragoza experience in progressing engineering curriculum and collaborations at the Commonwealth Campuses, while ensuring the students’ education is at the forefront of the process.

“I am very excited to be part of the leadership of the College of Engineering at Penn State and for the opportunity to make an impact in one of the largest and more comprehensive colleges of engineering in the nation,” Esparragoza said. “I look forward to exploring innovative programs and educational approaches that impact our engineering students.”

Esparragoza’s research background focuses on three areas: theoretical applied mechanics, engineering education and engineering design. In theoretical applied mechanics, he studies the micro-mechanical behavior of fibrous composite materials and the problem of cracks that develop along the interface of two different materials bonded together. In engineering education, he explores the development of global professional competencies, the use of multinational design projects in a first-year course, the interaction of multinational teams, the assessment of professional skills in engineering, and sustainability in the engineering curriculum. In engineering design, he focuses on the development of methodologies for modular architectural design of a family of products considering sustainability.

“I am deeply committed to research that will have a direct impact on my students, and this has been the main focus and interest of my research,” he said.

Esparragoza earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad Del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Florida International University.

Esparragoza joined Penn State in 2001 and has since held numerous academic administrative leadership roles. In addition to his ETCE directorship, he served as the interim director of academic affairs at Penn State Brandywine from 2019-2020; a discipline coordinator for engineering at the Commonwealth Campuses from 2013-2019; a program coordinator for the bachelor of science program in engineering at Penn State Abington, Penn State Brandywine and Penn State Great Valley from 2017-2019, and was on the Council of Discipline Leaders at Penn State Brandywine from 2007-2011.

“When I started learning more about Penn State, the campuses and the service the institution provides to the students across the state through the Commonwealth Campuses, I knew this was an institution that I would like to be part of,” Esparragoza said. “I have felt welcome from day one, and I have been able to advance my career here. I am excited and pleased to continue contributing to the University and the College of Engineering in this new position.”


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


College of Engineering Media Relations

headshot of a man

Ivan Esparragoza, director of engineering technology and commonwealth engineering (ETCE) and professor of engineering design at Penn State, has been named the assistant dean for curricular innovation and program assessment. IMAGE: PROVIDED BY IVAN ESPARRAGOZA