New dean to lead GVSU's College of Computing, Blue Dot mission

May 07, 2024

New dean to lead GVSU's College of Computing, Blue Dot mission

Grand Valley State University Provost Fatma Mili announced the appointment of Marouane Kessentini as the new dean of the College of Computing, effective July 6. 

Kessentini is the Winegarden Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Innovation and Technology at the University of Michigan-Flint. He also serves as director of the National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center on Pervasive AI in Michigan, the director of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates site on Digital Accessibility and as an executive board member of the Rackham graduate school and MCity at the University of Michigan.

“Dr. Kessentini brings expertise, experience and a track record of successful transformational leadership in every position he held,” Mili said. “He will be a key player in giving shape to the new College of Computing, the Blue Dot, and the Digital Literacy initiative. I am really looking forward to having him on campus engaging with the internal and external communities.”

Kessentini’s appointment comes after Grand Valley’s Board of Trustees approved a plan to elevate and expand the current School of Computing during a meeting in November. The as-yet-unnamed College of Computing will help GVSU reach its goal of delivering three times as many graduates in high-tech fields over the next 10 years. 

“Having a new College of Computing at GVSU is a transformative action by the leadership of GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella and Provost Fatma Mili,” Kessentini said. 

“With the growth of computing, artificial intelligence, data science and cybersecurity and beyond, it’s very inspiring to see the commitment of the university to create a new college that hopefully would become a bridge for every single field at GVSU to democratize computing.” 

The College of Computing will be an integral part of GVSU’s Blue Dot initiative , a technology and science hub on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, designed to transform the way the university applies data science, artificial intelligence and computer technology to forge new opportunities for students. 

A supplemental funding bill signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at Grand Valley in December provided a $30 million boost to the Blue Dot project while, in March, the project received a federal grant totaling $2.5 million. 

“We are very committed that all of our curriculum and programs are built in a close and authentic partnership with industry partners based on their needs in artificial intelligence, human-centered design, software engineering, digital transformation and cybersecurity,” Kessentini said. “Our students would be ready from day one. They would have huge opportunities to be involved in hands-on training in collaboration with those companies.” 

Kessentini received bachelor’s and master’s degrees with distinction in computer science from the University of Tunis in 2006 and 2008. In 2012, he received a doctoral degree in computer science from the University of Montreal.

Since graduating with his Ph.D., Kessentini has spent his career in Michigan as a leader in software quality assurance, intelligent software engineering and artificial intelligence engineering. His research focuses on software engineering, artificial intelligence, big data analytics systems, mobile cloud and edge computing and cybersecurity.


Article by Brian Vernellis

Image credit - Amanda Pitts

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Page last modified May 7, 2024