Dr. Adam Ward Named New Department Head for Biological and Ecological Engineering

Following an exhaustive national search, Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences has named Dr. Adam Ward as the department head for Biological and Ecological Engineering (BEE).

Ward joins OSU from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University where he has served as Associate Professor since 2019. He holds a PhD from Penn State University in Civil Engineering and is currently finishing a Fulbright Fellowship in Birmingham, England studying rivers as part of earth’s critical zone, working to better manage rivers to balance societal and natural functions.

“The academic scholarship and passion for the land-grant mission of teaching, research, and outreach that Ward brings to BEE, the college and the University is going to have tremendous impact on our program,” said Dr. Staci Simonich, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “I am thrilled to welcome him to Beaver nation.”

While new to Oregon State University, Ward has had connections to the BEE department for more than a decade as it was one of the first programs of its kind in the nation.

“The idea of ecological engineering captured my attention as I was working in the industry designing stream restorations and building wetlands to store and treat urban stormwater,” Ward said. “Using natural ecosystem processes to solve problems and benefit both humanity and the environment has limitless potential.”

Since first learning about OSU’s BEE program, Ward has regularly visited Corvallis, conducting research at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (Blue River, OR) and building connections to faculty with shared interests at OSU in that time.

“I am thrilled to make the move to OSU with my family, being a part of shaping the future of BEE both on campus and for Oregonians more broadly,” Ward added. “I am especially passionate about working at the intersection of agricultural production and resource management, bringing the engineering toolkit to bare to help Oregon’s vital agricultural industry. Our department exists to support the stewardship of our resources to provide critical food, fuel, and fiber and to create economic opportunity for the state and beyond.”

The Biological and Ecological Engineering department is unique as it marries the strengths of both the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Engineering—operating as a department within both colleges.

“Our program is at the intersection of resource management in the College of Agriculture and the applied, problem-solving of Engineering” says Ward, “We are positioned to capitalize on the strengths of both units, creating a better future for Oregonians and addressing society’s most pressing needs.”

A relatively young discipline amongst engineering programs, Ward sees the opportunity to build on a strong foundation to create a legacy that has lasting impact for both the ecosystem and agricultural production.