Dr. Zahi Atallah named VP of Academic Affairs

After a nationwide search and in-depth selection process, Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) is pleased to announce it has selected Dr. Zahi Atallah, Ph.D. as the new Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Atallah, most recently the Dean of Advanced Technology and Applied Science at Hartnell College in Salinas, California, replaces Dr. Diane Nyhammer, who left BTC in April to join Waubonsee Community College as the Vice President of Educational Affairs.

“Dr. Atallah is a proven leader with an impressive academic resume,” said Dr. Tracy Pierner, BTC President.  “I’m confident that he will be a tremendous asset to BTC and help us advance our efforts to create more flexible learning options and cultivate a student-centered, supportive environment.” 

Dr. Atallah will oversee BTC’s instructional deans and staff with responsibilities for credit and continuing education programs, business and industry training, online and alternative education delivery, and program and curriculum development.

Dr. Atallah, who resides in Sun Prairie, WI with his wife Amy and son Philip, started his career in academics in 1997 as a research assistant for American University of Beirut.  In 2000, he joined Washington State University as a research assistant for three years and teaching assistant for one.  He moved to Wisconsin for the first time in 2003 when he was hired by the University of Wisconsin, Madison as an Associate Researcher for the Department of Plant Pathology.  In 2008 the University of California, Davis recruited him as a Scientist for the Department of Plant Pathology where he served until joining Hartnell College in 2011.

“I am excited to join the Blackhawk community and eager to begin work alongside such a gifted and dedicated faculty and staff,” said Dr. Atallah.  “It has been a joy to learn about all of the new initiatives happening at BTC. The college is moving in the right direction and I’m thrilled to be a part of its future.”

Dr. Atallah received his diploma in Agricultural Engineering from Holy Spirit University in Kasik, Lebanon before earning a Masters of Science in Plant Pathology from American University in Beirut, Lebanon and a doctorate in Plant Pathology from Washington State University.  He has co-authored three books and 27 journal articles and has participated as a presenter or writer at 31 scientific conferences.

In addition to his writing and presentation portfolio, Dr. Atallah speaks three languages (English, French and Arabic), has in-depth experience managing grant funding from federal, state and private sources and has worked extensively with industry leaders to align educational programs with real-world opportunities.