Virginia Tech has announced the search committee for a new dean of the College of Engineering.

Dean Richard Benson, Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair, announced earlier this year that he will leave Virginia Tech to serve as president of the University of Texas at Dallas. Don Taylor, Charles O. Gordon Professor and head of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering and will serve until the completion of a national search.

Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering is known for its hands-on, minds-on education and is the state’s largest engineering college, ranking among the top five suppliers of new undergraduate degrees in the United States. The College of Engineering climbed to its highest ranking in the latest National Science Foundation’s report on engineering schools’ research expenditures, moving upward to eighth with almost $229 million in research expenditures.  In U.S. News & World Report’s latest survey of undergraduate engineering programs, the college ranks No. 15 among all schools that also offer a doctoral program and eighth among public universities. The magazine’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools 2017” survey, released in March 2016, ranked the college’s graduate program No. 21 among all of the nation’s engineering schools.

Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis will chair the search committee.  Members of the search committee are:

  • Doug Bowman, professor, Department of Computer Science, and director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction
  • T. Charles Clancy, associate professor, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and director of the Hume Center for National Security and Technology
  • Rafael Davalos, professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
  • Kimberly Ellis, associate professor, Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Sallie Keller, professor, Department of Statistics, and director of the Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory, Biocomplexity Institute
  • David Knight, assistant professor, Department of Engineering Education, and affiliate assistant professor, School of Education
  • Roberto Leon, David H. Burrows Professor of Construction Engineering, Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Kathy Lu, professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Kray Luxbacher, associate professor, Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering
  • Stephen Martin, associate professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and innovation
  • Marlena McGlothlin-Lester, director of advising, Department of Engineering Education
  • Steve McKnight, vice president, National Capital Region
  • Alex Parrish, marketing team lead, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
  • Eric Paterson, professor and department head, Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
  • Michael Philen, associate professor, Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
  • Corina Sandu, professor and associate department head for graduate programs, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Wayne Scales, professor, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Ryan Senger, associate professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering
  • Denise Simmons, principal faculty member and assistant professor, Myers-Lawson School of Construction
  • Elizabeth Spiller, dean, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Bevlee Watford, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, College of Engineering

The search committee welcomes nominations for the position. Virginia Tech has engaged Russell Reynolds Associates to assist with this search. For confidential inquiries, or to nominate an individual for this position, please email You may also send nominations to Thanassis Rikakis (, or via campus mail, 210 Burruss Hall (0132).

The position description and application process will be announced in June 2016 and will be available through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost ( website.

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