Robert Kraus, Ph.D., an experienced pilot, aerospace administrator, aerospace educator and a retired Air Force colonel, has been named Dean of UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences following a national search.
Kraus currently serves as Associate Dean, Flight and Operations and Professor in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering at Kent State University in Ohio. As such, he helps lead the College’s professional flight programs and oversees all aspects of its airport operations, including maintenance and safety.
Kraus joined Kent State following a 28-year career in the U.S. Air Force. His final assignment was in Paris, France, where he was Head of the Operations and Coordination Division in the NATO Science and Technology Organization Collaboration Support Office.
His prior assignments include serving as the Wing Chief of Staff at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, Science and Engineering Division Chief at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Chief Scientist and Director of Research at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Operations Officer of the Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron, C-130 Experimental Test Pilot at Edwards Air Force Base and C‑141B Strategic Airlift Pilot at Travis Air Force Base.
In his career, he earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters.
An Air Force Academy graduate, Kraus has more than 3,300 hours in 35 aircraft as an aircraft commander, instructor and evaluator pilot, as well as an experimental and operational test pilot.
“We’re so pleased to welcome Dr. Kraus to the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, UND, and the State of North Dakota,” said Debbie Storrs, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UND.
“He brings a wide range of experience spanning higher education teaching and administration, flight and operations management, and research leadership experience. I’m particularly excited about his commitment to student success, his interest and support for all departments and flight operations in the School, and his ability to further research opportunities within the School and collaboratively across the university.”
Honored and humbled
UND President Andy Armacost joined Storrs in welcoming Kraus to the University. “We are thrilled to have Bob Kraus join us at UND and to lead the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences,” Armacost said.
“His array of experience and achievement is a perfect match for the innovative spirit and rich history of the school. He will undoubtedly lead the students, faculty, and staff to even greater heights.”
Kraus graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He earned his Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
And across his broad Air Force and civilian aerospace careers, Kraus has overseen projects and programs in many of the areas that the Odegard School now focuses on. For example, as Chief Scientist and Director of Research at the Air Force Academy, Kraus oversaw the execution of the Academy’s $60M-plus research programs, coordinated the activities of 21 research centers and institutes, and leveraged funding from more than 150 government and industry partners.
As Flight Test Consultant for Golden Arm Associates in Henderson, Nev., Kraus trained the company that was tasked with testing the Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft.
And as Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Director of Flight Test at the Air Force Academy, Kraus consistently was rated in the top 10 percent of all faculty by students, and was selected as the Aeronautics Outstanding Academy Educator (#1 of 22) in 2003-04.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected for this position, and I look forward to joining the outstanding faculty, staff, and students in Aerospace Sciences and the University of North Dakota community,” Kraus said about his new appointment.
“The School has a long and successful history of educating and training students, conducting research and supporting the economic development of the region that I hope to build upon.”
At the Odegard School, Kraus will succeed Dean Paul Lindseth, who is stepping down to return to his position as professor within the Department of Aviation. Kraus will begin his term on Jan. 15, 2021. Lindseth has graciously agreed to serve as Dean through Jan. 14, 2021.
“Paul Lindseth has served as Dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences for the last four years, providing faculty, staff, and students with strong and stable leadership,” said Interim Provost Storrs.
“I’m grateful for his leadership and congratulate him on his well-deserved developmental leave, in which he will reengage in human factors research related to fixed wing, rotary wing and unmanned aircraft systems.”