School of Engineering searches for associate dean of research

Taylor Gleason
Contributing Writer

The School of Engineering is looking to increase its research output by hiring an associate dean for research who will develop programs to increase the school’s annual external research funding.

The search for the position was announced on Sept. 5, said Meredith Stockman, a spokesperson for the School of Engineering. The new dean will be responsible for providing vision and leadership in achieving the school’s objectives for the future.

The position is new and will be important to the school’s goal of increasing government and public-private partnerships from $5 million to over $20 million within the next five years.

Joan L. Izzo, director of communications and marketing for the School of Engineering, has been responsible for updating information on the position as well.

“The successful candidate will have demonstrated management and leadership accomplishments through faculty and administrative roles, as well as shown success in leading interdisciplinary teams on major projects,” Izzo said in the job release.

She also said the dean will be responsible for focusing on several areas of research, including sustainability and energy engineering, micro- and nano-electronic systems, pharmaceutical engineering and mechanobiology and regenerative medicine.

VCU’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, specifically highlights a commitment to research excellence. The School of Engineering is no exception to this standard. In August, three VCU engineering researchers won a National Institutes of Health grant of over a $1 million toward preventing lung injuries.

Though Izzo said the university could not comment on the current state of the job hunt, she did say applications will be accepted up until the position is filled.

Engineering students said they are curious to see what the new dean will bring to the table.  Blake Mollnow, a freshman biomedical engineering major, said she was thrilled by the news.

“I had no idea that this was happening. Although I haven’t been here for long, my experience here has been wonderful so far. The School of Engineering is a place for growth and learning, and I’m looking forward to connecting with the faculty and whoever this associate dean turns out to be over the next four years,” she said.

Sophomore engineering major Will Slattum said he was not at all surprised at the recent job opening.

“VCU as a whole continues to excel in research and I know that engineering is one of many areas where very important exploration can be conducted,” he said. “I’m excited to hear about this though. Hopefully engineering students will continue to be introduced to more and more analysis opportunities in their fields.”

Though some students were excited about the announcement, others said they wanted to see some changes in the way things are run at the school of engineering. Slattum continued to elaborate on the latter side.

“Honestly, I feel like none of the opportunities are geared toward anyone who is not a senior,” Slattum said. “Most of the internship opportunities I’ve seen in the field are focused on soon-to-be graduates. If possible, I’d like to see the school expand more opportunities for freshmen and sophomores especially.”

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