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After 9 years as department chair, Jacob Najjar rejoins civil engineering faculty

Jacob Najjar. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Nine years ago, Jacob Najjar assumed the duties of chair and professor of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Mississippi. Following two successful terms as chair and achieving several of his goals for the department, Najjar will return to the faculty full time to continue teaching the next generation of civil engineers.

Dave Puleo, dean of the School of Engineering, expressed his gratitude for Najjar’s faithful leadership as chair.

“First and foremost, I thank Professor Najjar for his leadership of the department for two terms,” Puleo said. “The past year has been challenging, and he was steadfast in championing his students, faculty and staff throughout his tenure as chair.

“Second, I appreciate his support during my transition to Ole Miss Engineering. I look forward to his continued efforts for the department and school as he returns to the civil engineering faculty.”

Najjar, who joined the faculty in July 2012, said he enjoyed his time as chair and named a few of the many achievements he was able to guide the department toward during that time.

“I was able to lead the department through a very successful 2016 ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation with a ‘clean sheet’ (meaning no recommendations for improvement were given),” he said. “The entire CE family worked hard to achieve this rare accreditation accomplishment.”

Najjar also led the civil engineering department during the pandemic to fulfill its mission despite the many challenges that everyone had to overcome.

“Most significantly, the CE department received a ‘Special Award for Diversity and Inclusiveness’ from the Graduate School in May 2015,” Najjar said. “The CE department was the only department on campus to receive this award during 2015. This meant that the CE family was already doing well in regard to diversity and inclusion to be recognized for its efforts.”

Najjar said he expects his teaching and research to increase since he will not be engaged in the administrative matters of the department chair.

“I love teaching and research and am looking forward to doing more of that,” he said. “During my tenure at Kansas State University (before arriving at Ole Miss), I was recognized for my teaching at the departmental, college, university, regional and national levels.”