Published: Mon Oct 4, 2004David H. Huddleston recently returned to his alma mater, Tennessee Tech University, to accept an appointment as chairperson of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
Huddleston, who received his bachelor’s degree in engineering science from TTU in 1977, built an industry career and served on the faculty at Mississippi State University for thirteen years before returning to Cookeville. He said leading Tennessee Tech’s CEE Department offers him a chance to work with faculty members, administrators and staff who are known for quality work.
“All of the components are in place to enable the department to respond to the anticipated needs of the civil engineering profession in the next decade,” said Huddleston. “Primarily through undergraduate education, dedicated faculty and energetic and capable students, who have access to great facilities, have established a CEE department with an excellent reputation within industry and competing graduate programs.”
To complement the strong undergraduate program, CEE must increase the educational opportunities available through research and graduate study, Huddleston said. Though this will require increased emphasis on research and graduate education, Huddleston’s support of post bachelor’s degree education will not come at the expense of the undergraduate program.
“We must be responsive to changes in licensing and industry that will occur in the next 10-15 years that will result in a more significant role for graduate education and research,” he said. “As we provide enhanced opportunities at the graduate level, it’s imperative that we use the growing research and graduate program to strengthen the undergraduate educational experience.”
After graduating from TTU, Huddleston earned a master’s degree at Virginia Tech. He returned to Tennessee as a manufacturing/quality control engineer for TRW’s Ross Gear Division. Before turning to higher education, his industry positions included serving as an engineering analyst for Pan Am World Services and Sverdrup Technology Inc.’s AEDC Group in Tullahoma.
Huddleston earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1989. He joined the Mississippi State faculty as a research engineer with MSU’s National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation in 1991, then moved into MSU’s Department of Civil Engineering in 1995.
At Mississippi State, Huddleston took on several university service roles, including serving as a faculty senate member and advising Tau Beta Pi. He also was a member of a task force that led MSU to adopt a personal computer ownership policy for students in the College of Engineering.
At Mississippi State, Huddleston twice received the Hearin-Hess Distinguished Professor Award from the College of Engineering.
His research interests lie in computational fluid dynamics, computational design, water resources engineering, fluid mechanics and applied aerodynamics. He and a colleague currently have a permanent, interactive exhibit, “How Wings Work,” in the “How Things Fly” Gallery of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Huddleston began his new position on Aug. 1. Roy Loutzenheiser, associate dean of undergraduate affairs for the College of Engineering, had held the interim position.
Huddleston and his wife, Christy, have two sons, ages 24 and 21.