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headshot of James M. Pitarresi

James M. Pitarresi

Vice Provost; Vice Provost; Distinguished Teaching Professor; Vice Provost for Online and Innovation Education

Center for Learning and Teaching; Mechanical Engineering; Academic Affairs, Office of the Executive VP and Provost


Currently, James Pitarresi's research activities are directed toward a number of interesting computer modeling and experimental measurement problems, many of which arise from the electronics packaging industry and are related to mechanical performance issues of electronic components. These include finite element modeling and fatigue life prediction of solder joints due to thermal and vibration cycling, experimental measurement of deformation using moiré interferometery and other optical techniques, early failure detection of solder fatigue using advanced resistance monitoring and constitutive modeling of solder alloys. In addition, work is being done in the areas of vibration modeling, testing and modal analysis of structural systems. Pitarresi is the director of the Opto-Mechanics Research Laboratory and co-director of the Vibration Research Laboratory (with Professor Ronald Miles). Pitarresi studied civil (structural) engineering at SUNY Buffalo, specializing in computational mechanics and structural dynamics. Prior to joining the Watson School, he was a research fellow at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, where his work was in the area of structural optimization and active control of large structures. Pitarresi has worked for Bell Aerospace and General Motors and is an engineering consultant to industry and government. Pitarresi's course offerings are in the area of mechanics. Recently, he has taught Statics and Dynamics, Introduction to Solid Mechanics, Elasticity, Finite Element Methods, and Energy and Variational Methods in Solid Mechanics. He has also taught courses in computer programming, optimization methods, structural mechanics and design. He is co-author of the recent text book, Introduction to Solid Mechanics, with Irv Shames. Pitarresi has received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, the University's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Peter A. Engel Memorial Award for Outstanding Teaching in Mechanical Engineering.


  • Assistant Provost and Executive Director, Center for Learning and Teaching

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  • BS, MS, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo

Research Interests

  • Computational mechanics
  • vibration modeling and testing
  • opto-mechanical techniques
  • electronic packaging


  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • 1998-1999