Professor Hesham El Gamal appointed Dean of Engineering

11 October 2023
New Dean appointed to the Faculty of Engineering
Information theory expert Professor Hesham El Gamal has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, commencing in July 2024.

Professor El Gamal. Image: Catherine Smith, University of Sydney

The University of Sydney today announced that Professor Hesham El Gamal has been appointed the new Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, commencing his role on 1 July 2024.

An information theorist by training, Professor El Gamal is widely regarded for his work in wireless communications, among the academic community as well as the entrepreneurial and business sectors, for having led 16 US patents, co-founding a successful start-up and influencing wireless standards.

“Engineers and the research we do have a critical role to play in our rapidly changing environment,” said Professor El Gamal. “I believe the University of Sydney should be renowned for creating engineers who are not just technically excellent, but who are committed to creating a just and sustainable world and who lead the way in ethical innovation.”

“I’m therefore delighted to take on this new role, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues at Sydney to unlock the full potential of our Faculty to shine as a global beacon of excellence, diversity, equity, wellbeing and transformative societal impact.”

The current Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Professor Willy Zwaenepoel will conclude his term on 30 June 2024 and will continue at the University as a distinguished senior academic.

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annamarie Jagose, said Professor El Gamal’s proven record of accomplishment in research, development and education, and commitment to creating a culture of enterprise and inclusion came highly valued. 

“A highly accomplished researcher and skilled educator, Hesham will bring strategic leadership to the Faculty as we seek to deliver on our Sydney in 2032 aspirations. His unwavering commitment to student-centric educational innovation, passion for cross-disciplinary collaboration and dedication to equity, diversity and inclusion will be invaluable assets to the Faculty and the University,” said Professor Jagose. 

“He has deep expertise across all domains of academic endeavour, including industry engagement, and a talent for weaving together research, entrepreneurship and education in novel and exciting ways to deliver immersive student experiences.”

“I am confident that Hesham will approach this role in a way that inspires, supports and challenges all individuals to reach their fullest potential, and in doing so ensure the Faculty continues to grow its reputation locally and globally for its contributions to addressing the great global challenges of our time.” 

Professor El Gamal said he would invest in four key pillars during his tenure as Dean of Engineering: greater collaboration both inside and outside the University; promoting equity, diversity and inclusion; student-centric teaching that harnesses the latest in research; and encouraging a culture of “successful” failure. 

“Often when engineers build things on their own without consultation, collaboration or a deep understanding of the communities which they serve, the opposite of original intentions can result,” said Professor El Gamal. “We should build together. If you think of the greatest feats of humanity, they have been joint efforts. From areas like ethical engineering through to the exciting applications of AI and the understanding of the spread and impact of misinformation, we solve our greatest problems and reach our most thrilling extents through collective endeavour.”

“The University is a wonderful place to achieve this with its broad spectrum of expertise, commitment to multidisciplinary research, and strong partnerships with government and industry.

To solve our world’s most wicked problems, we need to aim high – if we do not fail, we are just solving the easy stuff.
Professor Hesham El Gamal, incoming Dean of Engineering

“We also want to be celebrating and driving a culture of failing forward. We want our researchers and educators to aim high and take risks. We want to encourage them to embrace failure, learn from experience and move on. To solve our world’s most wicked problems, we need to aim high – if we do not fail, we are just solving the easy stuff.”

Professor Jagose noted Professor Zwaenepoel’s significant contributions to the University and Faculty as Dean: “Professor Zwaenepoel has consistently championed an academic excellence agenda both with current staff and in his recruitment of research and academic leaders to the Faculty, attracting talent across a range of career stages from some of the best universities in the world as well as attracting high-quality research students and raising research and teaching excellence. 

“Among his achievements are substantial undergraduate student growth, the creation of two new schools—the School of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Project Management—and the visionary development of two highly innovative interdisciplinary programs, the Digital Sciences Initiative and the Net Zero Initiative. I know he will keep contributing at this high level through to the end of his term mid-2024.” 

About Professor Hesham El Gamal

Professor El Gamal obtained a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland and was a key figure in delivering the global aspirations of Ohio State University as the Chair of the Electrical and Computer (ECE) Department and was the Founding Academic Director of the Institute of CyberSecurity and Digital Trust. During his tenure as Deputy Dean of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering, Professor El Gamal has helped lead the revitalisation of the Faculty’s academic confirmation process and criteria, launched a new mentorship program and introduced a new process for School External Academic Reviews. 

Luisa Low

Media and PR Adviser (Engineering & IT)

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