J. Bruce Rafert is Provost at North Dakota State University, serving from July 2011 until present. Prior to coming to NDSU, Dr. Rafert served as vice provost and dean of the graduate school at Clemson University, as well as Dean of Graduate Studies at Michigan Technological University and Chair of the department of physics at Michigan Tech. Dr. Rafert also represented Florida Institute of Technology to the Spaceport Florida Authority, served as Florida Institute of Technology liaison to the Florida Governor's Commission on Space, and led in the initial concept development of the current space research and space lift capability of the State, including development of the Spaceport Florida Authority, and the Florida Space Institute located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He also previously served as Professor of Physics and Space Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology (1984-1995), Director of the Center for Space Science Research, Acting Executive Director and founder of the Space Research Institute and was co-founder of the Florida Space Institute. Dr. Rafert was selected as Florida Institute of Technology’s first Researcher of the Year 1988-89 and Florida Institute of Technology’s Teacher of the Year 1986-87. He was the founding Director of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy at Kitt Peak National Observatory, 1990-93, and also served as Chief Scientist and Florida Institute of Technology Subcontract Administrator for Orion International Corporation at the US Air Force Malabar Site Test Facility. He also served as Senior Scientist at the Phillips Laboratory, 1992-94 (all items while serving as Professor of Physics and Space Sciences). Dr. Rafert is the Technical and Scientific founder of the U.S. Air Force Hyperspectral Imaging Program and was the Principle Investigator of the optical design team that built the hyperspectral sensor flown in orbit on MightySat II.1 (world’s first orbiting Hyperspectral system).
He has held a research portfolio of over $9,000,000 in support for multidisciplinary research activities. Research funding spans industry, state and federal agencies, including National Science Foundation, National Park Service, Aerospace State’s Association, ONR, Darpa, Army, Technological Research and Development Authority (Florida), Air Force, and the private sector. Research projects include the construction of advanced automatic telescopes built to support National Science Foundation-sponsored observations of binary stars and plume effects from KSC-launched vehicles; construction of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy telescope at KPNO and other highly automated observatories; light curve analysis combining intensity and spectroscopic information simultaneously; development of expert system shells for use for telescope control; use of enhanced backscatter to yield diffraction-limited performance in turbulent atmospheres; a pioneer in the development of advanced visible and IR-hyperspectral imaging spectrometers for light aircraft and small Earth satellites such as MightySat II for remote sensing; the development of a small-satellite global carbon dioxide and atmospheric trace gas monitoring payloads; and the utilization of small sounding rockets for broad ranging scientific, educational outreach, and environmental applications. He was the former PI of the Pierre Auger Observatory All-Sky Monitor Task, and co-organizer of the CONCAM effort led by Michigan Technological University. He also served as a Senior Technical Consultant to Harris/GASD, Photon Research Associates, Daedalus, Kestrel, the Council of Graduate Schools, and to numerous universities and industries.
Dr. Rafert’s experience in academic and project administration spans the past 25+ years, including liaison with state and federal legislative personnel. He has a focused commitment to develop undergraduate and graduate programs which combine teaching, learning and research across all disciplines. Curriculum development and teaching experience includes Astrophysics, Remote Multispectral Sensing, Planetary Interiors, Physics of the Atmosphere, Introductory Physics (full range of calculus and non-calculus courses with and without laboratory sections), Comparative Planetology, Astronomy, Physics, Advanced Physics Laboratory, Variable and Binary Stars, Radio Astronomy and Methods and Instrumentation in Space Sciences.
He holds memberships and past memberships in the Council of Graduate Schools, Council of Southern Graduate Schools, American Astronomical Society, International Astronomical Union, Astronaut's Memorial Foundation, Sigma Pi, Sigma, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi.
He helped develop the curriculum for our nation's first Ph.D.-level program in the Space Sciences. Reviewer for National Science Foundation, Research Corporation and several refereed journals.
He is the co-Founding member of numerous cross and trans-disciplinary/multi-university programs including the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy: Florida Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, Florida International University, Valdosta State University, East Tennessee State University), the Remote Sensing Institute (Michigan Technological University; Biology, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, School of Forestry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics), Isle Royale Institute (RSI departments at Michigan Technological University Isle Royale National Park, the University of Minnesota at Duluth), the Aerospace States Association (most US states), Aerospace States Association Rockets For Schools Program (Aerospace State’s Association, Michigan Technological University, Aerospace State’s Association member states), Florida Space Institute (FSI: Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida, Brevard Community College, Embry Riddle).