The story of how Stella N. Batalama, Ph.D., embarked on her journey into higher education administration begins with her two-decade-long career at the University at Buffalo. “I was offered the opportunity to participate in the Faculty in Leadership Program. This experience triggered my interest,” she said.
That interest has carried Batalama to FAU, where she is now dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
“When the recruiter contacted me, I did not even have my CV updated,” she said. “I liked the team a lot. They showed genuine interest in recruiting a candidate who would really help the college move forward.”
Batalama received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia and her undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Patras in Greece. She has served as acting director of the Air Force Research Laboratory Center for Integrated Transmission and Exploitation.
Batalama’s rise is something of a rarity. As of January 2017, there were only 57 female engineering deans or directors in the U.S. — or 15 percent of the total engineering college leaders in the U.S., according to the Society of Women Engineers. She’s an active member of the society, which aims to increase the representation and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in academic STEM careers.
Her wide-ranging expertise includes cognitive and cooperative communications and networks, underwater signal processing and covert communications.
Tasked with spearheading the college’s robust research and education programs, Batalama is well positioned for the job. Her work has been reported in more than 170 technical papers and she has been awarded more than $9 million in sponsored research funding.
She is enthusiastic about elevating excellence within the college in keeping with the university’ pursuit of unbridled ambition. “I hope that we will become a leading college regionally, nationally and internationally,” she said. “We are raising our standards every day in everything we do and expect.”