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Under Henry Yang’s leadership as chancellor, UC Santa Barbara has become a leader in energy-efficient building and design. The campus is home to the most LEED-certified buildings in the UC system (ten), as well as the greenest laboratory building in the nation (LEED-Platinum Bren Hall). In 2004, Yang signed the UCSB “Green Building Policy,” which states that all buildings programmed after July 1, 2004 are committed to meeting a LEED NC Silver rating. The policy also encourages UCSB to pursue certification for its existing buildings by changing operations and maintenance procedures to meet green, energy efficiency standards. Through HVAC and lighting retrofits, delamping, and campaigns like “Flex Your Power,” the campus has decreased its electrical consumption by 31 percent and its natural gas consumption by 23 percent since 1998.
In addition to his efforts as chancellor, Yang leads an active research program based on his interests in aircraft structures, structural dynamics and control, transonic aeroelasticity, finite elements, composite materials, seismic- and wind-structural control, and intelligent manufacturing systems. In 2010 he received two new NSF grants totaling over $820,000 over four years to fund research focusing on bio-inspired actuators for next-generation infrastructure systems and machining of structural biological composites such as bone and nacre with minimal surface damage.
Henry T. Yang joined UC Santa Barbara as chancellor and professor of mechanical engineering in 1994. In addition to serving as chancellor, he continues to teach one or two courses each year and is currently guiding three Ph.D. students. He was formerly the Neil A. Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, where he also served as the dean of engineering for ten years, and as director of the Computer Integrated Design, Manufacturing, and Automation Center. Yang has authored or co-authored around 175 articles for scientific journals (including 46 articles since becoming chancellor), served as P.I. or co-P.I. for 35 sponsored research grants (including 11 NSF grants since becoming chancellor), guided 54 Ph.D. theses (including 14 since becoming chancellor), and received 13 outstanding undergraduate teaching awards (including an honorary distinguished teaching award from UCSB's Academic Senate). His book Finite Element Structural Analysis, published by Prentice-Hall, has been adopted by many universities and has also been published in Japanese and Chinese.
Yang has served on a number of advisory boards, including the Defense Science Board, USAF Scientific Advisory Board, Naval Research Advisory Committee, NASA's Aeronautical Advisory Committee, and the National Science Foundation's Engineering Advisory Committee. He is currently the chair of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, and the immediate past chair of the Association of American Universities. He is also a member of the Kavli Foundation Board and the President’s Committee for the National Medal of Science, and is serving as chair of the non-profit TMT Observatory Corporation overseeing the Thirty Meter Telescope project. Yang has received a number of recognitions for his research, teaching, and service, including the Benjamin Garver Lamme gold medal from the American Society of Engineering Education and six honorary doctorates. In 2008, he was awarded the AIAA Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of AIAA, ASEE and ASME.