AE professor to serve as associate dean of academics.

Mitchell Walker with students

Mitchell Walker, professor and associate chair for graduate studies in Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, has been selected to join the College of Engineering’s leadership team. Walker will serve as associate dean of academic affairs, a role he began this past Friday, April 1.  

Walker is now the primary representative of the dean’s office on all matters affecting undergraduate and graduate academics. He will assist in developing programs related to innovation in undergraduate education, manage a range of assessment programs, and interact with school chairs on matters of academic programming.

“Mitchell has been a leader among our faculty and research community since arriving at the AE School in 2005,” said Raheem Beyah, dean of the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair. “His unwavering commitment to the success of our students, along with his vision for preparing them as the leaders of tomorrow, make him the ideal person to lead our academic programs.”

Walker’s primary research interests include experimental and theoretical studies of advanced plasma propulsion concepts for spacecraft. This includes a focus on Hall thrusters, gridded ion engines, diagnostics for plasma interrogation and thruster characterization, vacuum facility effects, helicon plasma sources, and plasma-material interactions.

In 2021, Walker began a five-year role as principal investigator and director of the Joint Advanced Propulsion Institute (JANUS). The endeavor is a $15 million NASA Space Technology Research Institute that develops strategies and methodologies to surmount limitations in ground testing of high-power electric propulsion systems. According to the proposal, the vision of JANUS is to enable and proliferate the flight of high-power electric propulsion systems.

Walker also is the chair of the College's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. 

Mitchell Walker

I am honored and humbled to be chosen to lead the College of Engineering’s undergraduate and graduate academic programs,” said Walker. “I see the role as providing learners with a world-class educational experience by supporting faculty and staff. Georgia Tech’s strategic plan states that we will provide all students with transformative learning experiences to grow as creative, ethical, globally aware, technologically sophisticated leaders who can define and solve problems to improve the human condition. The College is on a trajectory to make this statement a reality.”

Walker serves as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) deputy director for Space Rockets and Advanced Propulsion and as an associate editor of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. He has authored 130 journal articles and conference papers in the fields of electric propulsion and plasma physics.

Walker is a member of the Department of Energy Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. He has also delivered expert witness testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Space Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., to help guide national investments in electric propulsion technology.

Walker is a recipient of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program Award, the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the AIAA Sustained Service Award, and the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence Award. He received his undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.

Walker replaces Larry Jacobs, who was recently named Georgia Tech’s first senior vice provost for Education and Learning.