Jensen Now Heading Up Chem. Eng. Department

Chemical Engineering Professor Klavs F. Jensen was named the new head of the Department of Chemical Engineering as of Feb. 1. The former head of the department, Robert C. Armstrong, stepped down after nearly 11 years in office, according to the MIT News Office.

“Obviously, it’s quite a big challenge,” Jensen said. “The Department of Chemical Engineering is one of the top departments in this area, but this is a nice opportunity to do something new.”

Jensen said that he has been working over the past years with Armstrong on various administrative matters, such as undergraduate advising, graduate student recruitment, and faculty hiring.

Although being the head of the department will limit his time, he plans to continue to teach as much as he can, Jensen said. One of the advanced classes he is teaching this semester is Chemical Reactor Engineering (10.65).

Dean of Engineering Thomas L. Magnanti, when appointing Jensen to the new head position, told the MIT News Office that he “is a noted chemical engineering researcher and educator.”

“Being the head definitely reduces my time with the lab,” Jensen said. “Of course, I would like to continue interacting with the graduate and UROP students.”

In the next several years, Jensen said he plans to uphold the department’s tradition of excellence that Armstrong has carried through. His future goals for the Chemical Engineering Department include upholding his foremost obligation as the head, which is to continue recruiting top-notch students and faculty, he said. Additionally, Jensen is seeking to strengthen some of the new initiatives the department has sought after in the past several years.

“I will make sure that the new programs, such as the X-B major option for undergraduates and the chemical engineering practice school for PhD, continue to grow,” Jensen said. “I have big shoes to fill.”

As a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, he is the co-author of more than 400 publications and has 16 US patents. He has received many prestigious recognitions relating to research and education, such as the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar grant, he said.