Fiona Doyle: An advocate for students across campus
When she retired from UC Berkeley in 2019, Fiona Doyle officially ended not only a 35-year career as a teacher and researcher within the College of Engineering, but also many years of service across campus, including serving as chair of the Academic Senate. At her retirement, she was Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division, the Donald H. McLaughlin Professor of Mineral Engineering, and had previously served as the college’s executive associate dean and interim dean as well as the chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She’s continuing her connection to the college as special adviser to the dean.
Doyle joined the College of Engineering in 1983 as its third female faculty member – the first in the Department of Materials Science and Mineral Engineering – and made significant contributions to the development of environmentally benign techniques to separate metals from their ores using solutions, as well as novel approaches to mitigate environmental contamination. She recognized early on the importance of sustainability in her field and developed techniques to improve the environmental impacts associated with the production, manufacturing and recycling of engineering materials.
When elected to the National Academy of Engineering — one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer in the U.S. — Doyle was cited for her contributions to environmentally benign techniques in hydrometallurgy, as well as for her leadership in engineering education. She was adviser to 43 engineering graduate students over the course of her career.
Among her duties as the college’s executive associate dean, she oversaw undergraduate education and helped lead a major turnaround in academic support and advising — an effort that led to the creation of Engineering Student Services (ESS). Since the creation of the ESS office, there has been a marked increase in student satisfaction as measured by engineering undergraduate surveys.
“Over the last couple of decades, I’ve seen a huge increase in the self-confidence of our women,” Doyle says about female engineering students. “Their leadership extends from the classroom and laboratory to student groups and campus service. I know that each of them will make an incredible, lasting impact on the world.”
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