Interview Story: Mahyar Izadi named interim dean

Mahyar Izadi has been named interim dean of the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, effective Oct. 1.

“I feel honored to be able to serve the faculty staff and students and I really look forward to the position,” Izadi said.

Izadi, who had previously served as the chair of the School of Technology for 11 years, has served as president of the university and research divisions of the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering.

He looks forward to taking the knowledge from his previous position to the new one.

Izadi was offered the job after Diane Hoadley, the previous dean for the college, accepted the dean position for the College of Business at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.

When looking to fill the position, President William Perry said he was looking for someone who could provide academic leadership, be a strong advocate for the college and create and recognize opportunities for students.

“Above all, someone with integrity, vision and approachability,” Perry said.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Izadi grew up watching American television. Izadi remembers his time in Iran fondly, “It was a good time, it was a time for family – things were quite different.”

In 1978, at the age of 16, Izadi came to the United States where he stayed with relatives for a short amount of time before being on his own. He attended high school in Columbus, Ohio.

“High school was a very interesting experience for me,” he said. “The culture difference was phenomenal.”

Izadi said the help from his professors is most memorable for him.

He completed his undergraduate degree at Franklin University in Ohio and got his graduate degree from Murray State University in Kentucky.

Izadi came to the university in 1984 and his family has lived in Charleston ever since.

With his wife, he has two children – a daughter who is a senior at Charleston High School and a son who is in fourth grade.

“Eastern has been very good to me,” he said. “It has been quite a phenomenon for me and my family and like anywhere else, working at Eastern has had challenges, but I’ve had some great times as well.”

Since he was young, Izadi was interested in engineering and throughout high school pursued that interest.

He enjoys technology because it changes all of the time and has a lot of negative and positive aspects that resonate in everyday life.

“It’s not about necessarily being a ‘techie’,” he said. “I want my students to understand both sides of technology.”

Izadi’s favorite part about working at the university is the connections he gets to make with his students and to keep in contact with many alumni.

Recently, Izadi had the opportunity to teach a student in the graduate program whose father he had also taught.

“To see a former student after 20 years and to be able to reflect on the time that has passed is one of my favorite memories,” Izadi said.

He said one of the most important aspects of his position is to make connections the old fashioned way, with person-to-person interaction.

By doing this, he has made approximately 30 articulations with community colleges in Illinois.

Having come from another country, Izadi works very closely with the international programs to make cultural connections with universities in places such as China, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Finland, Cyprus and even Italy. Having the opportunity to travel to these locations is something that Izadi enjoys.

The School of Technology has the largest amount of international students on campus and Izadi wants to keep the international tradition at Eastern strong.

“It’s very important to establish (international) relationships because every student that comes from another country is an ambassador of good will that will take their cultures back and forth,” he said.

Izadi initially did not intend to pursue teaching. In fact, while in school he was offered an industry job, but it was his professor who encouraged him to pursue teaching.

“There are teachers in our life that may not necessarily taught in your major, but they have made a difference in your life,” he said. “I want to be one of those teachers.”

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