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Introducing the new dean of the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science

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Mary Clark

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Dear DU community,

Michelle Sabick

I am thrilled to share with you, with the concurrence of the chancellor, the appointment of Dr. Michelle Sabick to serve as our next dean of the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science (RSECS), effective March 1, 2021.

Following a national search, Dr. Sabick was selected for her exceptional leadership skills, her commitment to the future of research, teaching, and learning in the engineering and computer science fields and her inclusive, consultative and highly effective management style. In addition to her appointment as dean, Dr. Sabick will hold the position of full professor in the department of mechanical and materials engineering in RSECS.

An expert in the biomechanics of the shoulder and elbow, medical device development and engineering education, Dr. Sabick received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Iowa followed by an appointment as a postdoctoral research fellow in the orthopedic biomechanics laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Sabick knows Colorado well, having worked at several of the state’s top educational and medical institutions, including as an affiliate and adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Mines, and as senior staff scientist at the world-renowned Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation in Vail. Dr. Sabick began her formal academic career in the department of mechanical engineering at Boise State University, where she was promoted to full professor in 2012. At Boise State, Dr. Sabick served as department chair from 2011 to 2014. 

In 2014, Dr. Sabick moved to Saint Louis University (SLU) as chair of the department of biomedical engineering. In 2016, she was appointed as dean of SLU’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, which included programs such as aeronautics, aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, engineering physics, mechanical engineering and physics. Dr. Sabick is the past president of the American Society of Biomechanics, an organization of roughly 850 academic researchers, clinicians and industry leaders dedicated to advancing basic and applied science in the field of biomechanics.

“In a pool of outstanding candidates, Dr. Sabick stood out for her dedication to undergraduate teaching and learning; her commitment to broadening opportunity for students historically underrepresented in STEM fields; her track record of mentoring early-career faculty; her proven ability to work across disciplinary boundaries; her experience in building and strengthening industry partnerships; and her reputation as an expert collaborator, manager, and leader,” observed Bruce Smith, dean of the Sturm College of Law and chair of the search committee.

“I am honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at DU during this transformative time in its history,” says Dr. Sabick. “RSECS is poised to increase the size and eminence of its research enterprise while remaining steadfast to its focus on student learning. I look forward to working closely with RSECS faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders to develop and implement a shared vision for the future of RSECS and with my fellow deans to advance interdisciplinary collaborations that address the grand challenges confronting our region, nation and world.”

Dr. Sabick, her husband, Karl, children, Zoe and Sam, and Great Pyrenees Stanley are excited to return to Denver where Michelle and her husband began their post-university careers. Dr. Sabick and her husband are avid runners and are looking forward to trail runs (with mountain views). Indeed, the whole family (including Stanley) are excited about being able to enjoy hiking and camping in the mountains and parks around Denver.

I wish to express my profound appreciation to Dean Smith and the other members of the search committee for their outstanding institutional service: Melissa Akaka (associate professor of marketing, Daniels College of Business); Weldyn Allen (BS ’20); Chris Gauthier Dickey (associate professor, department of computer science, RSECS); Tali Koziol Thomason (director, marketing, communication and events, RSECS); Faan Tone Liu (teaching professor, department of computer science, RSECS); Mohammad Mahoor (professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, RSECS); Denise O’Leary (chair, University of Denver Board of Trustees); Breigh Roszelle (associate teaching professor, department of mechanical and materials engineering, and associate dean of undergraduate studies, RSECS); Paul Rullkoetter (professor, department of mechanical and materials engineering, RSECS); and Margareta Stefanovic (associate professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, RSECS).

My profound thanks, as well, to Dr. Haluk Ogmen, interim dean of RSECS, for his exceptionally thoughtful service, which will continue through the leadership transition on March 1. It has been an extraordinary pleasure and honor to work with Haluk these last several months, and I look forward to continued strong collaborations. 

In closing, please join me in welcoming Dr. Michelle Sabick to DU as our new RSECS dean. I know she is very excited to become a member of our community.


Mary Clark
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor