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Meet Dean Puri

Dr. Ishwar K. Puri is dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

 

About Dr. Ishwar K. Puri

Dr. Ishwar K. Puri is dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

He is also an associate member of the departments of engineering physics, materials science and engineering and school of biomedical engineering. He was the founding academic director of the McMaster Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC).

In 2019, he was appointed as a member of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada by the Governor General of Canada on the recommendation of the Minister of Science. The Council’s main responsibilities are to set the strategy and high-level policies for NSERC and to advance Canada’s research and development agenda.

Dr. Puri served as chair of Engineering Deans Canada. the national council of Canadian deans of engineering, and also as chair of the Council of Ontario Deans of Engineering.

Professor Puri obtained his Ph.D. (1987), and M.S. (1984) degrees in Engineering Science (Applied Mechanics) from the University of California, San Diego after obtaining a B.Sc. (1982) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delhi.

For three decades, he has directed and mentored the Multiphysics Research Group (MuRG). The academic genealogy of the group runs through noted scientists such as Theodore Von Karman, Ludwig Prandtl, Gustav Heinrich Wiedemann and the Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Dr. Puri writes on matters of technology and society and has also been a TEDx speaker.

Awards of Distinction

He is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), which comprises many of Canada’s most accomplished engineers. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 

Scholarship

He is the author of over 190 archival publications and books. These publications have been cited over 6.500 times in the literature per Google Scholar with an H-Index of 46 (i.e., forty-six of his publications have been cited at least 46 times).

Dr. Puri is best known for his contributions to the sciences of magnetic fluid and particle transport (by providing insights into thermomagnetic convection, dynamic self assembly and magnetic inks for 3D printing), nanoscale transport phenomena (that elucidates new insights into heat transfer and soft matter behavior), and combustion (with applications to fire safety and combustor design).

Dr. Puri was a founder and mentor of NanoSpin, a startup that developed a cooling system for computers and electronic devices that uses a liquid dispersion of magnetic nanoparticles to dissipate waste heat, and which led to the founding of CIRC.

Leadership

At McMaster, Dr. Puri leads a Faculty that is organized into two schools, the student-centred research-focused School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the student-centred practice-focused Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology (SEPT). With about 160 faculty members in SEAS and 26 in SEPT, McMaster Engineering is home to 185 faculty members who, along with 150 administrative, technical and research staff members, educate 4,800 undergraduate students and about 1,000 graduate students.  His efforts have led to 51 faculty hires since 2013.

The centerpiece of the strategic vision that Dr. Puri has helped create enables innovative thinking to tackle profound local and global grand challenges that face society today. This vision, Innovation from Excellence, improves inclusion and diversity among students, faculty and staff members, illuminates a path towards greater student engagement by offering opportunities for students to grow into transformational thought leaders and also be eminently employable, and enhances the student experience through community engagement, extracurricular activities and summer research opportunities.

The aspiration to become a global top 75 engineering program by 2025, is coming to fruition. ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017 ranked civil engineering among the top 30 programs in the world at number 29, and three programs (metallurgical engineering, computer science and engineering, and transportation science and engineering) among the top 75 in their areas. These four programs already meet the aspiration of a top 75 engineering school. Two programs (water resources, and telecommunications engineering) are ranked among the top 101-150 programs in the world, within striking distance of moving into the top 75.

Under his watch, a student-centered building is improving experiential and problem based learning. Another bioinnovation building is being constructed to also allow for student and faculty expansion. The MacChangers grand challenge scholars program is an extracurricular activity that provides resources, coaching and support to interdisciplinary teams of students as they work together to create innovative and realistic changes that will contribute to positive change both locally and globally. There is focus on recognizing teaching and learning.

In partnership with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Puri initiated the university’s – and first of its kind in Canada – Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Program (IBEHS). The program offers students a five-year biomedical program that integrates engineering and health sciences, allowing multiple pathways to careers in health, engineering and entrepreneurship. After a common first year, students enter either the Bachelor of Engineering and Biomedical Engineering (B.Eng.BME) where they graduate with designations in both a traditional engineering discipline and in biomedical engineering, or the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship (B.H.Sc.) degree program.   

Motivated by the need to “prepare students to be flexible in a rapidly changing world and to meet challenges not yet imagined”, in 2019 Dr. Puri announced the most significant transformation in the sixty year history of engineering education at McMaster University through The Pivot, where design thinking, an innovation mindset and entrepreneurship are embedded in all programming. The three pillars of The Pivot are (1) changing the curriculum by seamless, project-based learning experiences, (2) reimagining the classroom by creating purpose-built studio spaces that replace lecture halls, and (3) amplifying experiential learning by offering more extracurricular and research opportunities to students.

During his tenure, McMaster Engineering has significantly increased its doctoral student population and research funding through major investments. A culture of thematic interdisciplinary faculty hiring has been strengthened. The Faculty of Engineering has formalized a mentoring program through its Faculty Development Academy and a Faculty Leadership Fellow program. Dr. Puri’s initiative led to twenty new honorific positions for Distinguished Engineering Professors, Distinguished Engineering Educators and Distinguished Engineering Fellows in the McMaster Faculty of Engineering.

Previous experience

Prior to his appointment at McMaster, Dr. Puri was the N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) at Virginia Tech where he served as Department Head of ESM for nine years from 2004 through 2013. During that period, he helped move the ESM program into new convergences at the intersections of the life and physical sciences, and promoted transformative scholarship, particularly through several new faculty hires. He also facilitated comprehensive curricular revisions. Upon his departure, the department was ranked fifth in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in 2012 in the undergraduate engineering physics/engineering science category.


After his doctoral degree, Dr. Puri served as an Assistant Research Engineer at the University of California, San Diego from 1987-90. In 1990, Dr. Puri was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in 1994, and to the rank of Professor in 1999. He served at UIC as Director of Graduate Studies of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering programs from 1994-97, and 1999-2000; as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies (2000-01); and as Executive Associate Dean of Engineering (2001-04).

Message from the Dean

Dr. Ishwar Puri's comments when he was elected as a Fellow of The Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Ranked among the top engineering schools in Canada and worldwide, the Faculty of Engineering plays a key role in helping McMaster University earn its well-deserved reputation as one of Canada’s most innovative universities in learning and research.

The McMaster Faculty of Engineering has a reputation for innovative programs, cutting-edge research, leading faculty, and aspiring students. It has earned a strong reputation as a centre for academic excellence and innovation. The Faculty has approximately 180 faculty members, along with over to 4,500 undergraduate and about 1000 graduate students.

An integral part of our innovative culture is the focus on experiential learning and problem based learning that enables students to gain hands-on experience through co-op work terms, internships and assignments that stimulate learning, lead to personal development and discovery, and enhance their ability to function effectively very quickly after moving into their career paths. 

The Faculty attracts approximately $45 million in annual research funding. Engineering faculty, staff and students at McMaster pursue research and learning in more than two dozen research centres, institutes and networks whose interdisciplinary pursuits cross departmental and Faculty boundaries. 

Outside the University, we collaborate regularly on research projects with partners in universities, government and more than 100 companies in Canada and abroad. Our partnerships with global engineering companies are key to the success of our learning and discovery programs.

Thus, through our commitment to innovation, excellence and quality, we create new knowledge and share that knowledge by educating and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders. These leaders go on to make a difference for Canadians and for people around the world. 

We continue to pursue new research programs and partnerships in emerging and topical fields from big data, cyber physical systems and new concepts in communication to manufacturing, infrastructure, nanotechnology and alternative energy – and find new ways to link those programs to new learning opportunities for our students.

At McMaster we constantly think about the future. Our efforts focus on applying engineering to improve the human condition. We hope that this emphasis also resonates with you. Therefore, we invite you to discover and support McMaster Engineering.

Our Mission

The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University is committed to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and service, and to fostering the quality of academic life.

Our Vision

The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University will be known internationally as a leader in research and education supporting the development of engineering practices for a sustainable world.

Contact

To contact Dean Puri, please contact Diana Maltese or Andrea Colbert-DeGeit