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Alfonso Ortega, PhD, Appointed to Head University’s Office for Research and Graduate Programs

Ortega Named Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs


VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has named Alfonso Ortega, PhD, to the newly created position of Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs, effective Aug. 22. In this role, Dr. Ortega will lead the University’s new Office for Research and Graduate Programs (ORGP). The ORGP will oversee Villanova’s internally and externally funded research activities, the Office of Research Administration (formerly known as the Office for Research and Sponsored Projects), the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and coordination of campus-wide graduate programs.

Currently, Dr. Ortega is the James R. Birle Professor of Energy Technology in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Engineering.

“The establishment of the Office for Research and Graduate Programs is the beginning of an exciting strategic initiative for the University,” said Rev. Kail C. Ellis, OSA, PhD, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “My vision is the Office for Research and Graduate Programs will be a watershed in our shared goal of promoting faculty scholarship and graduate programs as presented in the Villanova University Strategic Plan.”

Based upon an internal study conducted in 2010, the University made a decision to enhance its Office for Research and Sponsored Projects in order to further develop an environment and infrastructure to support continued research efforts.

As the Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs, Dr. Ortega will serve a strategic role in leading Villanova’s efforts to enhance research initiatives and foster excellence in research and scholarship. Specifically, he is charged with developing opportunities for research internally across the University and externally with collaborating institutions and agencies, creating new structures and resources for facilitating faculty research, increasing the awareness and importance of research within the University, and expanding the role of research in the undergraduate experience at Villanova. In addition, his office will provide oversight and coordination to graduate programs across campus.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to help Villanova University achieve one of its important strategic goals, which is to develop a culture of excellence in graduate and professional education and in faculty scholarship and research,” said Dr. Ortega. “I came to Villanova because of my belief that we represent the best hope for what a great institution of higher learning can be, a place that attracts the most talented students and faculty because of our deep commitment to teaching, learning and exploration in all of its forms."

Dr. Ortega came to Villanova University in 2006 after serving as a program officer of the Division for Chemical, Biological, Environmental, and Thermal Programs in the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Engineering Directorate provides critical support for the nation’s engineering research and education activities, and is a driving force behind the education and development of the engineering workforce in the United States.

Dr. Ortega holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso and a PhD and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He was a member of the faculty at the University of Arizona in Tucson for 17 years before joining Villanova’s faculty. Dr. Ortega is an internationally recognized authority in the field of fluid mechanics and heat transfer in the cooling of electronic systems where he has published extensively. He is the Director of Villanova University’s Laboratory for Advanced Thermal and Fluid Systems. Under his leadership, Villanova was one of three partner universities selected in 2011 to establish a new NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Center in Energy Efficient Electronic Systems for which he is now site director.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.