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News release prepared by: Mary Rankin, 785-532-6715, mrankin@k-state.edu

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AT K-STATE HAS TWO NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's College of Engineering has two new department heads.

Joseph P. Harner III has been named head of the department of biological and agricultural engineering, effective June 13. Alok Bhandari will head the department of civil engineering and be K-State's inaugural Dr. Robert Snell Professor of Civil Engineering. His appointment is effective Aug. 8.

Harner came to K-State in 1983 with a 100-percent extension appointment in biological and agricultural engineering and responsibilities in programming related to grain and livestock systems. He has been serving as the department's interim head since February 2009.

He has three degrees from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, including both a bachelor's and a master's in agricultural engineering, and a doctorate in environmental science and engineering.

Harner is a registered professional engineer in Kansas and is active in numerous professional societies, including the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. He was named the society's Mid Central Engineer of the Year in 2009 and the Kansas Section Engineer of the Year. He also received the society's Henry Giese Structures and Environment Award.

"Dr. Harner had certainly proven to be a capable leader during his time as interim head, and his qualities and credentials once again stood out in the national search for this position," said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. "We could not be more pleased to have him as the permanent department head of biological and agricultural engineering."

Bhandari is currently an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, serving as focus area leader of the water and environmental stewardship engineering faculty and director of the water quality laboratory. From 1998 to 2007 he was a civil engineering faculty member at K-State, where he also served as the founding coordinator of the university's New Faculty Institute.

He has a bachelor's in civil engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Tech University and a master's in environmental engineering and doctorate in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Bhandari is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota. His many awards and recognitions include the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Excellence in Student Chapter Advising Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was a Miller Faculty Fellow at Iowa State University and a Big 12 Faculty Fellow.

"We could not be more pleased to welcome Dr. Bhandari back to K-State as department head," English said. "His outstanding credentials and proven leadership skills will serve both civil engineering and the college well."

Bhandari will replace Yacoub Najjar, professor of civil engineering, who has been serving as interim department head.