Lewis appointed dean of the College of Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering Technology

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dr. Kenneth Lewis, an accomplished nuclear engineer and award-winning researcher, has been named dean of the College of Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering Technology (CSMET) at SC State University. The American Nuclear Society Fellow formerly held the position for six years, from 2005-2011.

Dr. Kenneth Lewis

Dr. Kenneth Lewis
His appointment comes at an important milestone for the nuclear engineering program, which is housed in the college. The program recently underwent a review for ABET reaccreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission. Lewis says the university anticipates continuation of the program’s reaccreditation.


During his initial tenure as dean, Lewis directed a team that lead to the successful awarding of ABET-EAC accreditation in 2008, making SC State the only ABET-accredited nuclear engineering program at a historically black college and university.

A visionary and results-oriented leader, Lewis directed the expansion and enhancement of several programs of discovery, scholarship and engagement in the nuclear engineering program, as well as for the engineering technology and computer science programs.

Lewis served as the author and principal investigator of grants totaling over $11 million, and over a five-year period, the dean increased research grant funding in the College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technology by over 60 percent.

He developed and established the radiochemistry and health physics programs to augment the academic offerings in the nuclear engineering program. Lewis focused his efforts on meeting the workforce demands of qualified professionals in STEM fields, particularly in physics and nuclear engineering.  Working with CSMET chairpersons and faculty, enrollment for physics and nuclear engineering spiked within several years.

Under his leadership, the interdisciplinary Center for Energy Studies was formed, combining the talents and expertise of faculty from across the college to work on alternative energy solutions. The Center obtained a provisional patent for its work in hydrogen evolution from switchgrass, which is the first in the recent history of SC State.

Lewis was instrumental in the creation of the Nuclear Engineering Summer Institute, an intense summer camp that exposes attendees to nuclear science. Two to three sessions are held annually. The first one is held for selected guidance counselors from across the state, who learn about the institute and are encouraged to recruit students to pursue a nuclear engineering degree from SC State. The other sessions are designed for high school juniors and seniors with exceptional academic records. Students who complete the summer institute are often offered scholarships to attend SC State and work towards earning a nuclear engineering degree. Several have accepted the educational opportunity and are excelling academically.

In the areas of engineering technology and computer science, Lewis was able to secure funding to develop the National Nuclear Security Administration/Mox Scholars program, which awards to eligible students tuition, a book stipend and additional funding for travel to various conferences. For each year they are awarded the scholarship, the students intern with Shaw AREVA Mox Service LLC.

Prior to his employment at SC State, Lewis worked in the nuclear industry for over two decades working for advanced nuclear and technology powerhouses such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lockheed Martin Energy Systems.

Throughout his career, Lewis has amassed numerous accolades and awards of achievement. He is the 44th recipient and first African American recipient of the Arthur Holly Compton Award, which he was awarded in 2010.  In 2008, He was awarded the Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Engineering from his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lewis is also a two-time recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Award of Excellence, awarded to him in 2001 and 2000.

Lewis earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Rutgers College, Master of Science in physics from Lehigh University and Master of Science Engineering in nuclear engineering from Stanford University. From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lewis earned both a Master of Arts in mathematics and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering. Lewis is also an ordained minister.