Trio of deans arrive at Bradley

Engineering

Dr. Lex Akers was named founding dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology. He started at Bradley on May 1. 

Previously, he was associate dean for academic programs and the James C. Dowell Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Missouri, where he had taught since 2001. He also worked at the University of Texas, San Antonio; Arizona State University; and the University of Nebraska. His other experience includes being a NASA Fellow at Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and work for Rockwell International, Motorola, Honeywell, and Intel.

“I’m phenomenally impressed. The faculty has such a passion toward the vision of the University,” Akers said. “Engineering is truly a global profession. It is about solving problems in other people’s disciplines.”

He said that Bradley’s planned engineering and business convergence center “will take the education of our engineering students to a unique level. We’re small enough to be agile, but large enough to have the infrastructure we need.” 

Dr. Richard Johnson served as dean of the College of Engineering and Technology for 12 years.

Dr. Lex Akers

EDUCATION: BS, MS, electrical engineering, Texas Tech University; Ph.D., electrical engineering, Texas Tech University

FAMILY: wife Sally, two children

Business

Dr. Darrell Radson was announced as dean of the Foster College of Business Administration, effective May 1.

Radson had been dean of the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Tech since 2008. Earlier, he worked at Drexel, John Carroll University, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He has served as a consultant to national and international firms on quality management and process control. 

“Bradley is truly an extraordinary university, and its commitment to student learning and engagement is second to none,” he said. “Bradley has set on a bold, strategic direction that will result in increased national and international distinction.” 

He points to the planned engineering and business convergence center as a prime element of the University’s strategic direction. “We will build on and greatly extend our past convergence activities to transform how our students are educated,” Radson said. 

Dr. Robert Baer served as dean of the Foster College of Business Administration from 2001 to 2011. In June 2011, Dr. Robert Scott was named interim dean. 

Dr. Darrell Radson

EDUCATION: BS, political science, Northwestern University; MS, political science, University of Michigan; MS, statistics, Michigan; MS, Ph.D., industrial and operations engineering, Michigan

FAMILY: wife Suzanne McDonough, two children

Graduate School

Dr. Jeffrey P. Bakken became dean of the Graduate School and Sponsored Research on June 1. He was the interim associate dean for research, graduate studies, and international education in the College of Education at Illinois State University. Previously, he was chairman of ISU’s Department of Special Education and a faculty member there since 1995. 

“I think Bradley’s biggest strength is the administration and the importance they place on graduate education,” Bakken said. “The faculty and staff are interested in creating a positive experience for their students. It’s a very passionate and positive environment with tons of potential. I am very excited to be here.” 

Focused on growing and advancing the Graduate School, he plans to reach out to employers as well as past, current, and potential graduate students. 

“I think communication will be important,” he said. “Transparency is vitally important when working with other programs. We need to be involved in recruiting in multiple ways. It’s all about meeting student needs.”   

Dr. Robert Bolla served as dean of the Graduate School for four years, and Dr. Alberto Delgado was appointed interim dean in 2011.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Bakken

EDUCATION: BS, elementary education, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse; MS, Ph.D., special education, Purdue University

FAMILY: wife Heidi, two children

- By Bob Grimson ’81

Photography By Duane Zehr