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Veerle Keppens

Keppens to Continue Role as MSE Department Head

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) has seen several successes in recent years, including an overall rise in US News and World Report rankings and being named as the No. 1 metallurgy program in the US multiple times.

Chancellor’s Professor Veerle Keppens has helped guide the department during those achievements, becoming department head in 2016 after a stint as the interim leader.

Now, the future remains bright for the department, as she has agreed to extend her time as department head for another term.

“I’m honored to be able to continue my role in helping lead this department during an exciting and promising time,” said Keppens. “The work being done in materials science is having a direct impact on a number of important areas, from advancing our fundamental understanding of novel materials to the development of technological applications. Being in a leadership position to help foster some of those breakthroughs is a tremendous opportunity.”

For Tickle College of Engineering Dean Matthew Mench, retaining Keppens in her current position was an easy decision.

“Dr. Keppens has led the MSE program forward to a top national ranking in metallurgy and enhanced rankings in its graduate program overall,” said Mench. “She has also successfully recruited a fantastic group of young, diverse faculty which will help ensure a bright future. The Tickle College of Engineering is fortunate to have leaders of her caliber.”

A native of Belgium, Keppens earned her both her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, just east of Brussels. She came to UT in 2003 and has authored or co-authored more than 80 technical papers and contributed to more than 70 technical presentations at national and international conferences.

Her work in materials science—with her main area of expertise being the elastic properties and lattice dynamics of novel materials—has led to accolades and honors including the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship; Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship; countless university, college, and departmental awards; and being named a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.