New at the top
September 3, 2010 |  by Dale Keiger

Two divisions of Johns Hopkins introduced new directors over the summer. In June,  the School of Education announced that David W. Andrews would become its new dean on September 1. In July, Ralph D. Semmel, Eng ’85 (MS), became the new director of the Applied Physics Laboratory.

A highly regarded expert on database systems and artificial intelligence, Semmel has been at APL for 23 years, the past five as the first head of the Applied Information Sciences Department, which was created in 2005 to respond to rapid changes in information technology. Prior to that, he had been assistant head of the Power Projection Systems Department, and deputy director of the lab’s Milton S. Eisenhower Research Center. He also chairs two programs in the Whiting School’s Engineering for Professionals graduate program. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Semmel holds advanced degrees in computer science and systems management. He succeeds Richard T. Roca, who served as APL’s director since January 2000.

Andrews comes to Johns Hopkins from Ohio State University, where he was founding dean of its College of Education and Human Ecology. He succeeds Ralph Fessler, who retired last year as Education’s inaugural dean. “I have always been fascinated with children and their well-being, and since high school I’ve never changed from that direction,” Andrews said in a press release. “The opportunity to work at Johns Hopkins with its strong reputation is phenomenal.” He holds degrees from Auburn, Kansas State, and Florida State, and has been a faculty member in human development and psychology departments at Oregon and Oregon State. In 1998, he became dean of Ohio State’s College of Human Ecology; eight years later, he led the merger of that school with the College of Education and became dean of the new college. As a researcher, he has worked on initiatives to improve schools, especially those in urban areas with vulnerable populations. He was instrumental in developing a partnership with public schools in Columbus, Ohio, that established a model early childhood laboratory in a low-income section of the city.