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The University of Alabama

UA Engineering Appoints Two Department Heads

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Engineering recently named two new department heads. Dr. Bob Taylor has been appointed to lead the department of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Viola L. Acoff has been named to direct the department of metallurgical and materials engineering.

Dr. Bob Taylor

Dr. Bob Taylor

Taylor, professor of mechanical engineering and associate director of the Alabama Industrial Assessment Center, joined UA’s faculty in 2004. Previously, he served Mississippi State University for 25 years as a mechanical engineering professor, associate dean of engineering and interim dean of engineering.

Taylor’s research interests include the areas of heat transfer and fluid mechanics, engineering experimentation, and uncertainty analysis. He is the co-author of the textbook, “Analysis and Design of Energy Systems,” and the author and co-author of more than 150 journal articles and published technical papers.

In addition to teaching and research, he has been recognized as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and he received a NASA Certificate of Recognition for Creative Development of a Technical Innovation. Taylor was named the Robert B. Abernethy Uncertainty Award recipient from the International Society for Measurement and Control and the Garland H. Duncan Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Taylor received a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Mississippi State University. He received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

Dr. Viola Acoff

Dr. Viola Acoff

Acoff, professor of metallurgical and materials engineering, began working at the Capstone in 1994 as an assistant professor of metallurgical and materials engineering. She was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and then promoted to professor in 2004. In 2008, Acoff was named interim head of chemical and biological engineering.

Acoff has been active in various areas of research and has been awarded more than $5 million in externally-funded research grants, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1997. She also has been instrumental in developing and leading the Introduction to Science Faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Materials Science and Engineering Program.

In addition to teaching and research, Acoff is involved with numerous professional organizations. She served as the chair of the ASM International Joining Critical Sector, and she chaired the Birmingham ASM International Chapter. Acoff is a member of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, ASM International, the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Welding Society. She is also the recipient of UA’s 2009 T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership award.

Acoff received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in materials engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1989, 1991 and 1994, respectively.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 2,300 students and more than 100 faculty. In the last seven years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater scholars, Hollings scholars and Portz scholars.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.