Dr. Kenneth Lee joins Montana Tech as Dean of the School of Mines and Engineering


Kenneth Lee, Ph.D., PE, hit the ground running as the new dean of the Schools of Mines and Engineering on July 1, and a few short weeks later, he has already set in motion plans to expand global educational opportunities for students and faculty at Montana Technological University, grow incoming classes, and improve retention.

Dr. Lee has more than a decade of experience building affordable and accessible international programs that offer students of all economic backgrounds cross-cultural experiences around the globe.

“We are pleased Ken has joined us to lead the School of Mines and Engineering at Montana Tech. He brings extensive experience in growing and managing engineering departments,” Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Steve Gammon said. “He has a record of being an innovative and collaborative leader who can partner with faculty to grow and enhance engineering programs. We look forward to how his leadership will help position Montana Tech for a successful future.”

Dr. Lee comes to Montana Tech from Western New England University, where he spent ten years as Founding Chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He received all his engineering degrees from the University of California Irvine and has postdoctoral experience from Princeton University.

Dr. Lee’s primary research is on subsurface contamination and renewable energy. He has secured funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and numerous other state and private institutions. He is credited with over 100 presentations, proceedings, and journal articles.

He is working on agreements allowing students to study abroad in Panama for three summer weeks at a highly affordable rate, to receive up to six hours of credit in Spanish and statics.

The program would be open to the entire campus,” Dr. Lee said.
The courses are geared toward meeting 2nd-year requirements for STEM degrees, but all students on campus will be able to participate.
“Once you finish your second year, we want you to have an internship lined up for summer,” Dr. Lee said.

Dr. Lee is also working on potential study-abroad programs in Austria and China.

Dr. Lee is a strong advocate of international education experiences. He developed an end-of-first-year experience with the Shandong University of Science and Technology at Western New England University. In 2015, he partnered with Central American Technological University and the Technological University of Panama for the U.S. Solar Decathlon, where students constructed a full-size solar-powered house to compete against other university teams. He has also partnered with the Technological University of Panama for the Solar Decathlon Latin America competition and with Xian Jiaotong University and the Polytechnic University of Milan for the Solar Decathlon China competition.

“I want to enrich students’ educational experience,” Dr. Lee said. “I believe a global experience can be transformational in students’ lives.”
Dr. Lee is also moving forward with plans to boost recruitment and retention.

In his free time, he enjoys kayaking and fishing, often at the same time.