Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, the Kearney Dean of Engineering at Oregon State University, has been named a fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
Under Ashford’s leadership, the College of Engineering has seen total enrollment grow by nearly 50 percent. He now oversees the 10th-largest engineering program in the U.S., with nearly 10,000 students and 445 faculty and staff. During his time as dean, the number of degrees conferred has increased over 75 percent, and overall graduation rates are up by 20 percent. The college’s research enterprise is also thriving, with 70 percent growth in funding awards.
Ashford has led the College in the creation of an inclusive environment where women are empowered to succeed. Adopting innovative approaches to cultural transformation, he has reimagined and reinvented practices in recruitment, hiring, faculty advancement, and promotion and tenure. The result has been unprecedented progress in the cultivation of a diverse faculty generally and, specifically, in the representation of and support for women. Since 2014, the college has doubled the number of female faculty, now numbering more than 50. Oregon State now ranks among the top three public Carnegie Foundation R1 universities in percentage of engineering faculty who are women.
As an engineer and a researcher, Ashford has made numerous technical contributions to the profession, particularly in earthquake geotechnical engineering. His research has focused on enhancing public safety and reducing potential economic loss worldwide from earthquake and coastal hazards through cross-disciplinary research. His latest efforts are targeted at improving the resilience of the lifeline systems in the Pacific Northwest to better withstand attack from the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
His most cited work is one on topographic amplification of steep slopes and the resulting effects on slope stability. This work has led to better understanding of coastal erosion through the use of lidar, and it has changed conventional wisdom on the source of sand on Southern California beaches. Other substantial technical contributions are in the behavior of deep foundations, particularly in blast-induced liquefied soil.
In 2006, Ashford earned the rank of professor at the University of California, San Diego. He became head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State in 2007 and has served as dean of the College of Engineering since 2014. He also worked in private industry for seven years – mostly with CH2M HILL. Appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, Ashford also serves as a governing board member of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI).
He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Oregon State and master’s and doctoral degrees in geotechnical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.