Eastern Illinois University has named Dr. Austin Cheney as dean of its newly realigned Lumpkin College of Business and Technology. His new position will begin July 1, when he will transfer roles from his current position as chair of EIU’s School of Technology and associate dean of Lumpkin College.
“I am humbled, honored, and excited to have been selected as the dean of the Lumpkin College of Business and Technology,” Dr. Cheney said. “Due to its outstanding faculty, staff, students, and alums, and through wonderful business and industry partnerships, Lumpkin College has a stellar reputation for its programmatic offerings and for producing successful and motivated graduates ready for employment and advanced studies. The leadership at EIU and within Lumpkin College has put us in a fantastic position to continue to confidently respond to globally evolving workforce needs, and to contribute to the economic growth and entrepreneurial enterprise across the Midwest.”
“Austin understands the mission of the college and has a rich history at EIU with demonstrated successes in the School of Technology,” said Dr. Jay Gatrell, Eastern’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. “As a graduate of EIU’s M.B.A. program, Austin is a student-centered leader who understands EIU’s robust commitment to every learner. He has a passion for the College’s outstanding programs, he is committed to continued academic excellence, and he is dedicated to exploring ways in which the Schools within the College can innovate, collaborative and thrive. I look forward to his ongoing contributions in this new role.”
Cheney brings a surplus of academic and applied knowledge to the Lumpkin College of Business and Technology dean’s position, shaped by a wealth of experiences in higher education, manufacturing and industry.
According to Cheney’s biography on the EIU website, he was appointed chair of the School of Technology at EIU in 2013, where he coordinated the university’s undergraduate degree programs in Applied Engineering and Technology, Career and Technical Education, Computer and Information Technology, and Organizational Development. He also assisted in creating the university’s M.S. degrees in Cybersecurity, Talent Development, and Technology, as well as the multidisciplinary M.S. in Sustainable Energy degree and EIU’s Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE).
Prior to joining EIU, Cheney served as dean of the School of Management and Engineering Technology at Alfred State College (New York) where he oversaw six departments and led budget, strategic and operational planning and assessment for the school. He also served Middle Tennessee State University as the founding director of its internationally recognized Concrete Industry Management program and expanded it to three new institutions: Arizona State University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and California State University at Chico. In addition to his administrative duties, he has lectured abroad at Tongji University in Shanghai, and spent five years as coordinator of the Mechanical Engineering Technologies at Rhodes State College (Ohio) from 1993-98, where he also received the college’s 1995 Distinguished Teaching Award.
Cheney earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton before earning an M.B.A. from Eastern Illinois University (2016) and a Ph.D. in Management of Technology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Ohio, a certified manufacturing engineer, and holds numerous concrete industry certifications. He is a past chair of both Region 7 and Lima Chapter #97 of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Ohio, served on the Marketing/Promotion and Education committees of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and was a member of the American Society of Engineering Education Engineering Technology Council’s Board of Directors.