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Erick Jones, the dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, was replaced by Indira Chatterjee, the current associate dean of engineering after recommendation by Jeff Thompson, executive vice president and provost. Brian Sandoval, the president of the university, approved the appointment of Chatterjee as the acting dean in the “absence” of Jones, according to university officials. 

Scott Walquist, director of communications at the university, told The Nevada Sagebrush in an email that he could not provide the reasoning.

“We are unable to provide additional information as this is a confidential personnel matter,” Walquist wrote.

Previously, the Sagebrush reported on questionable content that arose in the research articles from the dean. A blog post was published by Andrew Gelman, a statistics and political science professor at Columbia University, who commented on the “empty jargon” present in the studies. 

Following the article, students and internet sleuths have dug up more articles with dubious content. Some found articles consisting of only seven sentences, multiple duplicates of articles published in different volumes and very short peer review processes for all articles.

Jones replied to the allegations in the comment section of Gelman’s blog post claiming Gelman’s assessment of the work was “unjust”; he said he “gave up” being editor of the journal a “few years back,” but is still the initial founder and editor of the publication, as well as an investor.

“The journal is peer reviewed and it was designed initially for more American supply chain practitioners, researchers and undergraduate students in applied application labs to publish with faculty, from internships and class papers on applied engineering activities that are related to supply chain technologies,” said Jones.

A petition was started to then call for his resignation, but also for UNR to conduct a review of their hiring processes to “ensure that senior faculty are held to at least the same standards of academic integrity as are undergraduate students.”

Jessica Lozada, a communications officer for the university told the Sagebrush that they were aware of the allegations and they would be investigating and reviewing the issue. There had been no news of this issue until today as reported by Walquist.

It was also revealed that during the university’s search for a dean in 2022, there were five finalists were presented to multiple open forums during the hiring process:

  • Andreas Polycarpou, the department head for the College of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University from 2012 to 2021
  • Krishna Pagilla, a professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering at UNR
  • James Klausner, a foundation professor at Michigan State University in the department of mechanical engineering and executive director for the Fraunhofer USA Center Midwest in the Coatings and Diamond Technologies Division; 
  • Ozlem Kilic, the associate dean and professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the Tickle College of Engineering and the executive director, Intercollegiate Data Science Program
  • Suzanna Long, a chair and professor at Missouri University in the department of engineering management and systems engineering

However, Erick Jones, the current dean, was not listed in the finalists.

Emerson Drewes contributed to this story.

Jaedyn Young can be reached at or on Twitter @jaedyn_young3.

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