Ilene Busch-Vishniac became the University of Saskatchewan's 9th president on July 1, 2012.
President Busch-Vishniac received her undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Rochester, and Master of Science and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Acoustics Research Department of Bell Laboratories immediately following completion of her PhD. In 1981, Dr. Busch-Vishniac joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department. She remained there until 1998, rising through the ranks and holding an endowed chair as well as serving as the associate chair of the department. She then joined Johns Hopkins University as the Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering, where she remained until joining McMaster University in 2007.
As provost, she was instrumental in technology systems renewal, the development of a new budget model, improving the student experience, faculty renewal, strategic enrolment planning, advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning on campus, and modeling a highly successful and collaborative college-university partnership. She also worked to enhance diversity initiatives at McMaster, particularly focusing on ties to First Nations communities nearby.
President Busch-Vishniac’s research focuses on aspects of acoustics and on diversity issues as they relate to engineering education. She is best known for her work to control noise in hospitals and for her efforts to revise engineering curricula to suit a more diverse population. She has authored over 60 technical articles, a monograph, and a number of popular papers. She also holds nine US patents on electromechanical sensors. She has served as the lead supervisor for 18 PhD students, 34 MS students, and a host of undergraduate students engaged in research project and has received many teaching and research awards, including the Curtis McGraw Research Award of the American Society for Engineering Education, the Silver Medal in Engineering Acoustics of the Acoustical Society of America, the Achievement Award of the Society of Women Engineers. She has also served in a variety of leadership roles, including President of the Acoustical Society of America and Chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents.
She is married to Ethan Vishniac, a renowned astrophysicist and the Editor-in-Chief of the Astrophysical Journal. Together they have two children: Cady and Miriam.