George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Oscar Barton selected to lead Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering at Morgan State

June 24, 2020   /   by Martha Bushong

Oscar Barton

Oscar Barton Jr. is chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Courtesy photo.

Oscar Barton, Jr., chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been appointed to lead the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering at Morgan State University as its next dean. His appointment will be effective on August 17.  

“We will surely miss Oscar’s leadership at Mason,” says Dean Ken Ball. “But at the same time, we are proud that he has been chosen to lead Morgan State’s School of Engineering and know that he will help advance Morgan’s strategic vision and the success of its students, faculty, and staff.”

Barton joined Mason’s faculty in fall 2014, after 22 years as a faculty member and department chair at the U.S. Naval Academy.

He made many notable contributions to the Volgenau School of Engineering and Mason. He wrote the proposal to the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) to establish the bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Mason and steered it successfully through the approval process.

Additionally, he wrote the SCHEV proposal and garnered approval to establish the new Department of Mechanical Engineering. He sought industry support for the department by establishing the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board and raised funds from industry to establish new mechanical engineering teaching laboratories.

Barton’s vision for expanding access to engineering education included efforts to propose and guide the Mason-NOVA Compact to facilitate transfer student success for NOVA students enrolling in mechanical engineering at Mason. This compact was the pre-cursor to Mason’s broader and successful ADVANCE program.

He also led the hiring process for almost all of the department’s current faculty and staff. Since its modest beginnings in 2014, enrollment in mechanical engineering has grown to nearly 400 students. Barton’s contributions to Mason and VSE were substantial and his imprint will be lasting.

As the founding chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University, Barton provided exceptional leadership.

“I’ve grown and developed so much as a faculty member working with Oscar (Dr. Barton/Dean Barton) over the last six years,” says Associate Professor Colin Reagle. “He’s had a clear vision for our department since day zero that has guided us onto our current trajectory. We wish him the best of luck in his new role.”

Barton’s leadership, however, has not been limited to VSE and Mason. He stepped up to hold national office in several professional and educational associations. He provided substantial leadership to the profession as Chair of the ASME Department Chairs Executive Committee, Chair of the ASME Committee on Engineering Education, Division Chair of ASEE Military and Veterans Constituent Committee, and Commissioner and Executive Committee member of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. 

“On a personal note, Oscar is a tremendous friend and I look forward to continuing working with him as a fellow dean and new member of the Engineering Deans Council,” says Ball. “I also hope that we can find ways to engage with Morgan State University and to establish mutually beneficial partnerships in the coming years.”

Read the announcement from Morgan State at https://news.morgan.edu/new-soe-dean/.

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