Liesl Folks

Liesl Folks

University of Arizona
IEEE Region
Region 06 (Western U.S.)

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Dr. Liesl Folks currently serves as the Vice President for Semiconductor Strategy at the University of Arizona, where she is also a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. For the period 2019-2023, she served the institution as Provost, leading strong growth in on-campus and online student enrollment, greatly expanded research activity, increased diversity of faculty, staff and students, led salary equity reviews for faculty, introduced minimum stipends for graduate student researchers, and the launch of two new colleges.

She holds a BSc (Hons) and a PhD, both in Physics, from The University of Western Australia, as well as an MBA from Cornell. She previously served as the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and professor of Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo, NY. Prior to joining UB in 2012, she spent 16 years in research & development in support of the data storage industry in Silicon Valley. There, she worked at IBM Almaden Research Center, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, and Western Digital. Her R&D accomplishments include key contributions to the fields of nanoscale magnetic metrology, bit-patterned media, microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR), Helium sealed drives, spin-transfer-torque sensors, and Hall cross sensors. An internationally recognized expert in the fields of magnetic materials and devices, nanoscale metrology, and spin-electronic devices, Dr. Folks holds 12 U.S. patents and is author of more than 60 peer-reviewed articles that have attracted more than 13,300 citations.

Dr. Folks has long been a mentor to women and under-represented groups in STEM and was a co-author of the ASEE's Deans Diversity Statement that was announced by President Obama in 2015 and has more than 200 engineering deans as signatories. She was the first female President of the IEEE Magnetics Society, for 2013-2014, and has served on the Strategic Planning Committee for the IEEE Technical Activities Board. Within the academy, she has been a leader in expanding interdisciplinary research aimed at addressing major social and global challenges, and in growing hands-on and experiential learning opportunities for students. She chaired the 2020 congressionally-mandated NASEM Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, and is now serving as NASEM Committee Chair for the panel on Global Microelectronics: Models for the Department of Defense in Semiconductor Public-Private Partnerships. Dr. Folks is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

IEEE Magnetics Society Position History:
  • Present   IEEE Magnetics Letters Editorial Review Board Members (Publications Committee Roster)
  • Present   Oral History Chair (MagSoc Oral History Project Committee)
  • 2023-Present   Ad hoc Subcommittee Chair (Planning, Constitution & Bylaws Committee)
  • 2013-2014   President (Officers)
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