Women in Leadership – Katherine Banks


Katherine Banks
Professor, Civil Engineering
Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering
312 Jack K. Williams Administration Building
3126 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-3126


What made you decide to become an administrator?

I decided to become an administrator to contribute to my institution in a broader sense. After a rewarding experience serving as a research center director for a number of years, my perspective toward administration changed. I realized there was the potential to direct significant programmatic improvement through university administration.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an administrator?

The most rewarding aspect of serving as an administrator is observing the success of our students, faculty and staff.

What is the most challenging aspect of being an administrator?

Communication. Effective communication is crucial and in an organization as complex as a large engineering program, it is especially challenging. Large or small, effective communication is key in any successful organization—and is the most challenging aspect.

What were the choices you made (and why) related to maintaining (or not maintaining) your scholarship as you took on an administrative role?

To lead an organization, you must achieve balance between your multiple roles. In my case, that meant reducing my teaching load and maintaining a smaller group of graduate students, which was difficult for me because I enjoy interacting with students at all levels.

How have you balanced your personal life with your career?

It is a tremendous challenge, but one of utmost importance. It helps to have strong organizational skills and a supportive partner.

What advice would you give to women faculty who are considering administration?

You must first establish yourself as a senior scholar before you step into an administrative role. This is critical to gaining the respect of the faculty in your organization.