Welcome to our new Head of School Professor S Travis Waller

Professor Travis WallerUNSW Engineering Deputy Dean (Research) Professor S Travis Waller has been appointed as the new Head of School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney.

Travis is no stranger to the School, having established our transport research centre rCITI (research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation) in 2011, and led that extraordinarily successful team for seven years until his promotion to Deputy Dean in 2018.

He is thrilled to be back at the School. “It is my firm belief” he says, “that our School is an exemplar of what is the best of academia – with a tradition of excellence across education, research and social engagement.  And all that is a direct result of the hard work of our staff and past School leadership over many years and decades.”  

With the challenges of Covid-19, it is not an easy time to become leader. But Travis is optimistic. “Our School has always come together in times of challenge and, as we all adapt to the emerging landscape, I am certain that we will continue to do so.”

It is the future, not the past which is Travis’s main point of focus. “As a globally leading School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, I believe it is our duty to help redefine our profession into the future. What this means to me, personally, is that I view our School as being champions for ethical infrastructure and sustainable environments.”

“I believe that engineers have a sincere drive to make a difference in the world, and I have always said our engineering research is about being useful, making a practical and beneficial impact, and now I want us to deepen our use. I want to ensure that the School continues to lead our profession, not in any “business as usual” way, but in a mindful, ethical, and exploratory way -  one that truly considers our interconnected ecologies, and our responsibilities to all the members of our community, our civil societies.”

Professor Waller received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University and his MS/PhD degrees in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University.  Prior to joining UNSW, Travis was on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he led the successful effort to establish a U.S. National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on Transportation and Electricity Convergence (focusing on electric vehicles).  He also secured substantial funding to establish, as founding director, the Network Modeling Center.

In 2003, Professor Waller was named one of the top 100 innovators in science and engineering in the world under 35 years of age by MIT’s Technology Review magazine for his work on dynamic traffic analysis.  More recently he received the U.S. Transportation Research Board’s Fred Burggraf Award in 2009, the Hojjat Adeli Award for Innovations in Computing in 2012, and the Pyke Johnson Award from the Transportation Research Board (a division of the U.S. National Academies) in 2019.

In the past 18 years, Professor Waller has secured over $23m in total research funding. He has published more than 300 peer reviewed papers, supervised 22 completed PhD students and conducted over 60 funded research projects for 30 distinct sponsors worldwide. 

In making the announcement, Acting Dean of Engineering Professor Stephen Foster took the opportunity to thank the acting Head of School Professor Nasser Khalili for ‘his tremendous effort, guidance, and leadership of the School both these last six months and in 2018-19, and also to me personally – the School could not have been in better hands, as demonstrated through our continuing successes.’

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