The University of Virginia — Dean, UVA Engineering

The Opportunity
The University of Virginia seeks a strategic, collaborative, and high-integrity leader to become the next Dean of UVA Engineering. The Dean is the primary champion of academic excellence at the School, and will work to ensure that the School achieves its stated mission: to make the world a better place by creating and disseminating knowledge and by preparing engineering leaders to solve global challenges. Our vision is to be a leader among engineering schools in seizing opportunities to benefit humanity through bold research and world-class education. The next Dean will lead a group of accomplished researchers and innovative educators and will be a passionate champion of the importance of and the immense contributions of engineering to the world.

Reporting to the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Dean will continue to strategically move UVA Engineering on an ambitious path centered around five core values: passion for societal impact; educating engineering leaders; determination to innovate; commitment to excellence through diversity; and dedication to collegiality and collaboration. The next Dean of UVA Engineering will join the University at a time of change, opportunity, and a shared sense of vision. The University welcomed its ninth president, James E. Ryan, in August of 2018 and Provost M. Elizabeth (Liz) Magill followed in summer 2019. In fall 2019, the University entered the public phase of its $5B Honor the Future Campaign. As part of that campaign, UVA Engineering recently announced its largest-ever gift. Alumnus Greg Olsen has pledged $25 million to recruit and retain star engineering faculty, attract outstanding Ph.D. students and provide the Dean of Engineering and the chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering with additional funding to support strategic initiatives. The total impact of Olsen’s gift will be $36.5 million when combined with $11.5 million in matching funds from UVA’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund and Bicentennial Professors Fund.  

The Role
The University is seeking a highly qualified, collaborative, visionary, and transformative leader with the experience, energy, commitment, and focus to leverage the many opportunities before the School, guide its continued growth, and realize new success. The Dean will have responsibility for the strategic, programmatic, financial, fundraising, and management operations that support the mission and vision of the School and its role within the broader University. The Dean will play an essential role in continuing to raise the profile of the School by promoting high-quality scholarship and innovative approaches to engineering. 

Vision and Strategy
With a commitment to stay at the forefront of engineering, UVA Engineering must anticipate and adapt to changes in technology, higher education, and the world. The Dean will provide strategic and transformative leadership by further defining and executing an aspirational and focused vision for the future in collaboration with the School’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and corporate partners.  Key to this will be maintaining and building on the School’s strengths while also proactively pursuing new and innovative goals in a global, highly competitive, and constantly evolving market.

The Dean will build on the School’s core competencies, invest in its culture and community, and align the School’s strategy with the broader objectives of the University. The Dean will serve as a unifying force within the School and as an effective external leader and advocate, one who serves in partnership with the Provost and the Deans of the University’s other schools. 

Key Responsibilities
Recruit, Develop and Retain Outstanding Faculty and Staff

  • A distinctive feature of the School is a strong culture that fosters trust, collaboration, and collegiality among faculty across academic areas, and also between faculty and staff. The Dean will be a standard-bearer for this culture and view the recruitment and retention of talent as a key institutional priority. The Dean will continue the School’s tradition of providing unparalleled support, mentorship, and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff across the School in all stages of their careers. 
  • UVA Engineering’s excellence in research and teaching depends on exceptional faculty. In recent years, the School has grown, attracting new faculty and creating new positions to support its investments in strong academic programs. The Dean will lead the recruitment, retention, and promotion & tenure processes to ensure that the next generation of faculty is defined by distinguished scholarship and a deep commitment to excellence in teaching.


  • The Dean will take an active and enthusiastic role in fundraising in close collaboration with University Advancement, UVA Engineering board members, and alumni, with the support of UVA Engineering’s development team. The Dean will work to cultivate relationships with alumni, institutional supporters, corporate partners, and other key constituencies, articulating the School’s priorities to them in a compelling way. The Dean will generate significant financial support that contributes to the growth of the endowment and continues the School’s strong track record of fundraising success. With a $250M goal, the Dean should expect to devote a substantial amount of time to fundraising as part of the $5B Honor the Future Campaign.

Inclusive Excellence

  • The Dean will have a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within UVA Engineering, working to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff are welcomed, valued, and respected. A key tenet of the University’s recently completed strategic plan is ensuring that students, faculty, and staff will reach their full potential and thrive as part of the University community.  
  • The Dean also will bring a sophisticated understanding of and practical experience with initiatives designed to recruit, mentor, and retain students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented groups. In addition, the Dean will work collaboratively to review how academic programs might be strengthened, considering a wide range of perspectives.  

Leadership and Relationship Building

  • The Dean will promote and serve as an example of collaboration and cooperation and be a positive, inspiring leader. The Dean will continue to build partnerships with other schools and units both within and outside of UVA, connecting with students, alumni, faculty, and the broader university community on an ongoing basis. The dean will also show a commitment to transparent and inclusive faculty governance. To be most effective, the Dean should be a known and visible presence throughout the School and with UVA leadership and external constituents, embodying the ideals of trust, open communication, transparency, and collegiality. 

Candidate Profile
The ideal candidate will be an accomplished academic with a strong record of scholarship who possesses significant leadership experience in an engineering school. Distinguished leaders from other backgrounds who value academic teaching and research and who have extensive experience in engineering also will be considered. The next Dean will have experience defining a targeted strategy for distinction within a crowded education field, setting and achieving meaningful goals through strong operational, financial, and interpersonal skills. Compelling candidates will have demonstrated their ability to overcome adversity, to act boldly, and to successfully lead transformative efforts. They will recognize the value of UVA Engineering’s unique culture and strong sense of community. 

  • A demonstrated understanding of the current realities facing undergraduate and graduate engineering education, including a nuanced understanding of the critical challenges facing the field in coming years.
  • Previous experience in the creation and implementation of a strategic plan and a demonstrated record of managing innovation and leading an organization toward a shared vision. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to building a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community for faculty, staff, and students, where all people can thrive.
  • Deep experience and success in recruiting, retaining, and developing talent. Significant management experience and a style that is adaptive, inclusive, and views faculty, staff and students as engaged participants. 
  • Experience and enthusiasm to be an exceptional relationship-minded fundraiser. Candidates should demonstrate that they are able to identify, engage, and excite prospective donors who have an interest in supporting and helping to shape the School’s core teaching, research, and service missions. 
  • Accomplished administrator with significant experience in a leadership role, preferably in a university setting, with an ability to partner across the institution. Demonstrated fiscal responsibility and business sense with a deep understanding of university finance and budget models. 
  • Ph.D. or other terminal degree; a record of successful scholarship, exemplary teaching, significant research contributions, and/or other achievements to qualify as a full professor in one of the academic areas within the School. 

Interpersonal Characteristics

  • Exceptional personal and professional integrity; 
  • Thoughtful, transparent, and collegial;
  • Collaborative within, and across, organizational boundaries; 
  • Excellent verbal and written communicator; 
  • Courageous, resilient and disciplined; 
  • Actively listens and learns; 
  • Ability to inspire at all levels;
  • Inclusive, encourages different points of view, deals effectively with conflict;
  • Engaging and positive energy.

To Apply or Nominate:
To learn more about this opportunity, please visit 

Applications should include a letter of interest and CV. The search will be carried out with full confidentiality. To apply, email materials to

UVA’s Executive Search Group (ESG), an internal search firm in the President’s Office, is assisting in the recruitment of the next Dean of UVA Engineering. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Jeremy Duff, Managing Director, UVA Executive Search at or to AJ Davidson, Senior Search Consultant, UVA Executive Search at