A world-renowned scholar in the field of mechanical metallurgy has been selected as the new department head for mechanical engineering within Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering.
Haitham El Kadiri will assume the position of department head and PACCAR Chair pending approval of the State Board of Trustees, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. He transitions into the role on a full-time basis after having served as interim department head since May of 2020.
“I am honored to serve as the department head for mechanical engineering and to continue working with the outstanding students and faculty at Mississippi State,” El Kadiri said. “As an educator in Mississippi for more than 17 years, I have witnessed the extraordinary hands-on talent and machine-building passion that students have here. The region is a proven development ground for clever tech innovators, astute engineers and strong business leaders.”
A native of Morocco, El Kadiri first came to Mississippi State in 2004 as a post-doctoral associate with the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS). He joined the Mississippi State faculty in 2006 as an adjunct research professor in mechanical engineering and as an assistant research professor at CAVS. He was promoted to assistant professor in 2009 before being chosen as the Whiteside and Coleman Associate Professor in 2015.
Since 2016, El Kadiri has also served as the university’s Moroccan Programs Coordinator, helping to facilitate Mississippi State’s award-winning partnership with Morocco’s Université Internationale de Rabat.
“Haitham has been an invaluable member of the Bagley faculty during his time at Mississippi State,” said Jason Keith, dean of the Bagley College of Engineering. “His experience as a researcher, as an educator and as an administrator made him a strong candidate during our national search. I look forward to working with him in his new role as he leads our mechanical engineering department forward.”
El Kadiri earned the 2016 Mechanical Engineering Outstanding Senior Faculty Research Award and received the StatePride Research Award in both 2010 and 2011. He’s been a part of programs and projects that have garnered more than $25 million in funding. His work has also led to two U.S. patents.
To date, El Kadiri has authored more than 78 journal publications and 26 conference papers.
During his time at Mississippi State, El Kadiri’s has worked to benefit the Mississippi economy by encouraging technological innovation and promoting job placements for students.
“Universities are critical to effectively train next-generation innovators,” El Kadiri said. “We must create strong business leaders in Mississippi who will strive to solve the complicated technical problems that affect our health, security and the environment.
“Aspiring engineers need to know the market, and they need to know how to process real-world information toward economically viable products that positively impact people’s lives,” he added. “They need to have access to engaged mentorship and the effective infrastructure throughout their four-year college experience. My goal is that our students have a life-changing experience while they are on our campus.”
El Kadiri received an Ingénieur d’État in materials science from École Nationale de l’Industrie Minérale in Rabat, Morocco in 1996. He earned a diplôme d’études approfondies (DEA), the equivalent of a master’s degree, from the Université de Nice and École des Mines de Paris in 1999. He also received his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the Materials Center of École des Mines de Paris in 2004.
The Mechanical Engineering Department is the largest engineering program at Mississippi State and second largest department within the university. The department has a long history of quality engineering education and research and aims to education students in fundamental and practical engineering principles, thus enabling the understanding and making of existing and next generation technologies relevant to research and engineering practice.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.