I am very pleased to announce that Blake Wentz has accepted the position of dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management. He will assume his new responsibilities in July 2020 upon completing his obligations to the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

“Professor Wentz’s broad background of experience and his solid track record of focusing on student success make him a great fit for the College of ECC and our University,” said Steffen Mehl, chair of the search committee and civil engineering department. “His ability to communicate with a high level of authenticity, his skill at increasing brand recognition of university programs, and his ability to engage our students, faculty and staff left a positive impression on the search committee. We are looking forward to working with him and excited about the possibilities he brings the college and University.”

Wentz’s experience in higher education includes a variety of roles that will be invaluable to the college. He earned his doctorate in technology management from Indiana State University and his master’s in engineering and his bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 

He has been the department chair of the Civil, Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Department at the Milwaukee School of Engineering since 2014, including interim program director of graduate programs from June 2018 to November 2019. He also served as the construction management program director from September 2009 to August 2014. 

Wentz also served as the Owners Representative on several construction projects on the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s campus, including the Grohmann Tower Apartment Building ($45 million), the Raider Baseball Stadium ($3 million), and the recently completed Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall ($37 million), which supports one of the country’s first computer science degrees focused on Artificial Intelligence.

A close up photo of Blake Wentz
Blake Wentz

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be the dean for the College of ECC at California State University, Chico,” Wentz said. “I am extremely excited to join such an amazing team of faculty, staff, and students in a great community environment focused on learning, students and supporting our critically important industries. The focus on application-based education in the College of ECC is a unique strength that drew me to the University, and I look forward to helping build on that great tradition to continue to produce graduates that are prepared for the careers of tomorrow and are therefore some of the most sought-after graduates in the country.”

We are very grateful for the hard work and dedication put forth by the search committee, including the additional support provided by Mehl, Jennifer Meadows, and Lori Fuentes. The collegiality and mission-driven approach that all members displayed throughout this process, as well as the feedback the committee received from faculty, staff, advisory board members and students, made the process very rewarding.

I also want to personally acknowledge and thank Melody Stapleton for serving as interim dean since January 2019. Stapleton has been instrumental in ensuring the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management remained focused on providing high-quality instruction and service to our students during this leadership transition.

Please join me in welcoming Blake Wentz to our University and thanking Melody for her ongoing service and leadership.

—Provost Debra Larson