On July 1st, 2018, Rudolph G. (Rudy) Buchheit became the 11th dean of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. Previously, Dean Buchheit was associate dean for academic affairs and administration of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University.
Two months after taking office, Buchheit announced the largest faculty hiring initiative in the UK College of Engineering’s history. One year later, the college welcomed over 20 new tenure-track faculty members to the college. The new hires carried impressive credentials, a passion for teaching and research prowess in autonomy and robotics, engineering for human health, materials and energy, humanitarian engineering, aerospace engineering and more.
When the university announced a comprehensive, enterprise-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Implementation Plan designed to accelerate progress at UK for its Black communities and other communities of color, Buchheit was named to the 22-member Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team. His addition reflected the commitment to diversity and inclusion he has brought to UK, which led the college to receive a Bronze Award from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). In addition to the Bronze Award, the college was further recognized as being “exemplar.” The distinction came as the result of ASEE’s inaugural Diversity Recognition Program.
On December 15, 2020 Rebecca Liebert donated more than $6 million to establish the Dr. Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean’s Fund in the College of Engineering. In recognition of her commitment, the dean of the college is now referred to as the “Dr. Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of the College of Engineering.” Additionally, the fund provides scholarship support to undergraduate students from eastern Kentucky — with an emphasis on supporting female students and those who would strengthen UK’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Buchheit earned his bachelor's degree in engineering science at Loyola University Maryland. He also has a master's degree and a doctoral degree in materials science from the University of Virginia. Buchheit served as department chair of Materials Science and Engineering at Ohio State from October 2006-August 2014. Before joining Ohio State, Buchheit was a senior member of the technical staff in the Materials and Process Sciences Directorate at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He is the recipient of the H.H. Uhlig Educator’s Award from NACE and the Morris Cohen Award from the Corrosion Division of the Electrochemical Society.