A nearly 30-year veteran of higher education, Bell was previously executive vice president and provost at Louisiana State University, where he served as both the chief academic officer and the chief operating officer of LSU. These responsibilities at LSU included oversight of all academic, research and student programs and coordination of related fiscal operations.
During Bell’s tenure, LSU opened new facilities, including residence halls, and made additions to engineering and chemistry buildings. Student retention and success were emphasized, and recruitment efforts yielded the largest freshman class in LSU history. Online programs were also expanded, and the campus developed a new strategic plan for LSU’s research and discovery efforts.
Before joining LSU, Bell served for 10 years as dean of the University of Kansas School of Engineering. During that time, he led an expansion of facilities and research, including efforts to establish multiple major research centers; increased student recruitment; and developed extensive experience in fundraising.
Bell previously served 16 years at The University of Alabama. He joined UA in 1986 as an assistant professor in the University’s department of mechanical engineering. Nine years later, he was named department head, where he served until accepting the Kansas deanship in 2002.
With research interest in combustion engines, Bell has expertise in alternative fuels for engines, innovative engine designs and modeling of engine and engine processes. He founded and directed UA’s Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies, an interdisciplinary research center.
Bell, who was inducted as an Engineering Departmental Fellow by UA’s department of mechanical engineering, was awarded the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Ralph Teetor Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research and Teaching in 1988.
He was presented the T. Morris Hackney Faculty Leadership Award for the UA College of Engineering in 2001, and, in 2005, he received the Richard S. Woodbury Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
An Abilene, Texas, native, Bell earned a nuclear engineering degree from Texas A&M University in 1979. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M in 1981 and 1986, respectively.
He and his wife, Susan, have three adult children, Stuart, Stacy — a UA graduate — and Stephen, and one granddaughter.