Chaouki T. Abdallah obtained his Bachelors of Engineering from Youngstown State University in 1981, and his Masters and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982, and 1988 respectively. He joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at The University of New Mexico (UNM) where he is currently professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Between 2001 and 2005 he was the associate chair for graduate affairs at ECE. Between 2005 and 2011, he was the ECE department chair prior to his becoming the provost and executive vice president of academic affairs of UNM on July 2011, a position he held until December 2016. The Board of Regents appointed him acting president of UNM on January 1, 2017.
Professor Abdallah was the first recipient of ECE’s Lawton-Ellis Award for combined excellence in teaching, research, and student/community involvement. Professor Abdallah also received the school of engineering senior research excellence award in 2004, and was the ECE Gardner-Zemke Professor between 2002 and 2005. He served as director of ECE’s graduate program from 1999 through 2005. Dr. Abdallah was a visiting professor at the Universita Degli Studi di Roma, Tor Vergata, Rome, in 2005. He has published eight books (three as co-editor and five as co-author) and more than 300 peer-reviewed papers, and his current h-index (as of December 2016) stands at 34. As provost, he has assembled a team (one senior vice provost and three associate provosts) to improve student success focusing on underprepared and underrepresented students. Within 5 years, under his leadership, UNM has increased the first-year retention rates by 6 %, the four-year graduation rate by 7 %, and the six-year graduation rate by 5 %. The team has also designed and implemented degree-plan software that allows current and potential students to investigate and track their coursework progress. He also shepherded the design and implementation of an Honors college that has since increased the number of high-achieving students attending UNM by more than 20%. The student success team also led a collaborative effort with the faculty senate and academic units participation to reduce the minimum required credit hours for Bachelors degrees from 128 to 120 effective in Fall 2014. During his tenure as provost, he has also increased the ranks of Tenure Track faculty by around 10%, and led three equity salary adjustment programs that helped around 1/3 of the UNM faculty. He also led the development and implementation of a long-range Academic plan and initiatives in 2011.
Professor Abdallah continues to conduct research and to teach courses in the general area of systems theory with focus on control, communications, and computing systems. His research has been funded by NSF, AFOSR, NRL, national laboratories, and by various companies. He served as the general chair of the 2008 CDC, the premier IEEE conference in Decision & Control, which was held in Cancun, Mexico. Professor Abdallah is a senior member of IEEE and a recipient of the IEEE Millennium medal that was awarded in the year 2000 to 1% of the IEEE members. Professor Abdallah is fluent in English, French, and Arabic.