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University of Wisconsin - Madison College of Engineering
Photo of Mark Swandby.

Mark Swandby
Administrator, Department of Engineering Physics

As a registered professional engineer with an MBA and experience in the nuclear power industry, Mark Swandby is uniquely qualified to serve as administrator for the Department of Engineering Physics. In fact, his title does not quite capture the value of his performance.

"Mark's title was 'Assistant to-,' but it could reasonably have been 'Assistant Chair' or even 'Associate Chair,'" says Emeritus Professor and former nuclear engineering department chair Max Carbon. "Certainly, he performed duties handled by faculty members in many departments."

Swandby's duties are far reaching. He says his philosophy of being an administrator is to support the faculty "…so that they can do what they should be doing — teaching and research — to serve as a bulwark against the tide of university paperwork. Try to never say no, to figure out a way to accomplish what the faculty need, legally, ethically, within whatever rules and regulations apply to a given situation."

Over the years, there have been many situations. He is responsible for detailed preparation and monitoring of the department budget and plays a major role in hiring and supervising departmental classified staff. Having earned his BS in nuclear engineering from the department in 1972 and worked in the Dresden nuclear power plant of Commonwealth Edison, he had the perfect background to serve as an advisor to students. This ultimately earned him the informal title of "Big Brother" of nuclear engineering undergraduates.

Since 1995, when nuclear engineering and engineering physics merged with the engineering mechanics department to become the Department of Engineering Physics, Swandby has concentrated on the management of the combined departments. Prior to the merger the two departments had 7.8 total support staff, today it has 4.8, including Swandby.

In addition to having served as assistant to the director of the Fusion Technology Institute and the Phaedrus Laboratory for Plasma Science, he chaired and continues to serve on many college and university administrative committees.

Swandby and his wife have two children. In his free time, he enjoys curling and serves on numerous committees including the United States Curling Association and the West Side Swim Club. He is active in the Midvale Community Lutheran Church.