Robert Bishop ’90 named Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M

Esteemed professor brings expertise in aerospace, applied engineering to his alma mater.

Robert Bishop

For the third time in his 30-year academic career, Robert Bishop ’90 is about to serve as a dean of engineering at a university.

“I’ve always been very intensely driven by programs and projects, not by the usual career advancement. I like to get things done,” said Bishop, who effective April 2 will become vice chancellor and dean of engineering at Texas A&M.

Bishop, 66, earned his Ph.D. from Rice in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) in 1990 after receiving his B.S. and M.S. from Texas A&M in aerospace engineering in 1979 and 1980, respectively.

“Rice felt like home right from the start of my graduate studies. The work was intense. My math background wasn’t strong when I got there, so for two years that’s basically what I studied. That changed the way I thought about problem solving,” he said.

Among the ECE faculty members to whom Bishop feels he owes a debt are Professor Athanasios “Thanos” Antoulas and the late James Boyd Pearson, and professor of mechanical engineering Angelo Miele.

Bishop was an Army brat born near Aviano Air Base in Italy, and grew up mostly in Germany, not living permanently in the U.S. until age 14, when his father was assigned to Fort Bliss in El Paso.

After graduation from Texas A&M,  Bishop worked in the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at MIT in its guidance and navigation group, and as a faculty fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During his time supporting NASA Johnson Space Center, he worked on the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology project, which inform future space missions requiring precision landing.

His research focuses on systems theory, guidance and control of spacecraft, and navigation and estimation theory with applications across a broad range of aerospace challenges.

After earning his Ph.D. from Rice, Bishop taught from 1990 to 2010 at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. For four years starting in 2010, Bishop served as dean and professor of ECE at Marquette University.

Since then he has been dean of the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida, and is a distinguished university professor of ECE. There he founded the Institute of Applied Engineering, a non-profit start-up awarded more than $100 million in U.S. Department of Defense contracts.

“Returning to Texas A&M is an opportunity I’ve worked toward all my life,” Bishop said. “I can’t wait to get started. My experiences at Rice, the faculty members and the opportunities they gave me, helped prepare me for this.”