By Benny Smith
The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees appointed Edward R. (Randy) Collins
Jr. as dean of the College of Engineering and Technology as part of its special-called
meeting May 3. Collins will start in his new position effective Aug. 1.
“Dr. Collins is a distinguished engineer who has long experience combining student
work in the classroom and collaboration with industry,” said Provost Richard D. Starnes.
“He is passionate about advancing student success, faculty scholarship and regional
economic development. His leadership will be critical as we seek to train the very
best engineers to build a brighter future for Western North Carolina and beyond. We
are very excited to welcome him to WCU.”
Collins comes to WCU from Clemson University where he is a currently professor of
electrical and computer engineering and the academic/technical adviser for the school’s
Dominion Energy Innovation Center. During his tenure at Clemson, Collins served as
associate vice president and executive director at Clemson’s Restoration Institute
campus in Charleston, South Carolina where he established a new academic leadership
structure, opened the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center, increased student recruitment,
worked collaboratively with stakeholders to increase faculty/staff recruitment and
expanded the campus research staff. He also previously served as associate dean in
Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science.
Collins received his doctoral degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in electrical
engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from NC State
University. Collins also is a registered professional engineer and has various Federal
Aviation Administration certificates and licenses to teach and fly airplanes.
“I am honored and thrilled to serve as the dean of the College of Engineering and
Technology at Western Carolina University. The college has amazing faculty, staff
and students, and is changing lives through highly sought-after engineering, technology
and construction management programs. I’m intrigued by the opportunities to advance
CET and WCU, and by the college’s ability to serve as a catalyst in our region and
state for economic and community development. The commitment and vision of the WCU
leadership and community is inspiring and I look forward to accomplishing great things
Collins is nationally recognized and has successfully had his research published in
25 refereed journal publications and more than 50 conference proceedings. He is the
inventor on three US patents.
The College of Engineering and Technology, one of WCU’s six academic colleges, houses
programs in engineering, technology and construction management. The college provides
innovative undergraduate and graduate level academic programs in Construction Management and Engineering and Technology for students in an environment that supports economic development, professional development
and involvement with businesses and industries. It fulfills its academic missions
through teaching and learning, scholarship and discovery, and service and engagement.