Profile: TAMUQ’s new dean and his plans for the university

Jueun Choi

César Malavé took charge as TAMUQ's dean starting this year.

César Malavé took charge as TAMUQ’s dean starting this year.

Texas A&M University at Qatar welcomed Cesar Malavé, Ph.D, as its third permanent dean this July. He has been a faculty member at the university’s main campus in Texas since 1987, where he taught graduate courses, and for the past five years was the primary head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering.

This is not Malave’s first time in Qatar. His first visit was in 2004 for a week, a year after TAMUQ was established. While he was an assistant dean of the College of Engineering in Texas, he also worked in the Qatar Support Office and handled study abroad programs for TAMUQ. This year, he came back with his wife and two children. He said he is not planning to go back anytime soon.

Malavé’s wife is an engineer too and their six children are also all engineers, engineering students or engineers-to-be. However, Malavé interests are not limited to this field. Back in the United States, he was part of a Latin blues band called Roca Azul, which is made up of professors and a doctor from Brazil, Greece, and Ecuador. Their website describes the members as “mostly irreverent old-men, not grumpy but fun.” Malavé plays Latin percussion instruments such as congas, timbales, “or anything that rattles,” according to the website.

Although Malavé won’t be able to jam with his fellow musician-professors in the United States anymore, he said he is happy to be at Texas A&M’s Qatar campus.

“I wake up in the morning and the two things that excite me about this place are the people who work here and the students. I can spend the whole day talking to students because I like to see them learning,” he said.

Malavé will oversee the academic, research and public service programs of the institution. More research opportunities for faculty, more study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students, and a new doctorate degree program are the main agendas that he wants to continue to build on from his predecessors. “I want to continue to expand the research opportunities for the faculty because that is the way you keep good faculty in engineering,” he added.

Malavé’s dream is to be able to send every student at the Qatar campus to visit the main campus for a week, if not a semester. “My dream costs a lot of money, so I would be okay if they spend at least a week in the main campus. Well, part of my job is to figure out how we come up with the resources,” he explained.

His plans regarding a new doctorate degree program are in collaboration with Hamad Bin Khalid University. “We would like a stronger collaboration with HBKU, and we have been working on a dual-doctorate program with HBKU,” he said. Texas A&M at Qatar currently offers bachelor and masters degrees. Doctoral graduates would receive their degree from both TAMUQ and HBKU.

Students who have met Malavé say they have positive impressions of him. “Every time he speaks, he refreshes my ambition and zeal on why I chose to be an engineer, as he says, ‘I can convince anyone to study engineering,’” said Sally Ali, a chemical engineering sophomore. “He is a very admirable man and his humility makes him more than just the dean.”

Zain Raza, a senior in chemical engineering, said that many people did not recognize him when they saw him in the campus cafeteria because he was dressed casually and seemed like a very “easygoing and jolly” person. According to Raza, it took a long time to find a new dean, and as a result, the former dean, Mark H. Weichold, had to extend his stay. “It’s a relief that finally the issue of dean has been settled and finally now we have a new proper dean,” he added.

Weichold, who served as a dean and Chief Executive Officer of TAMUQ for nine years, stepped down this past year to become the executive director of the Halliburton Global Engineering Program in Texas A&M’s College of Engineering on the main campus.

Alicia Holland, the director of marketing at TAMUQ, said the selection process for the new dean was not longer than expected. “Dr. Weichold stayed a few months longer simply because the process was still ongoing, not due to problems,” she said. Holland explained that while the selection process may seem long, it usually takes a year or a year-and-a-half to ensure the right candidate is selected for the leadership position.

“You can just feel that enthusiasm and we are so happy to have him as our new dean. We really appreciate his energy,” Holland said.

Dr. Malave will mark his 30th anniversary with Texas A&M next year.

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