Dean of the Herff College of Engineering

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The Herff College of Engineering:


The Herff College of Engineering at the University of Memphis, the largest engineering college in the region, began offering classes in 1964 and remains committed to developing and fostering people, ideas and new technologies that will transform the world of tomorrow. Fifty tenured/ tenure track faculty members with outstanding academic and professional credentials comprise the College and enable us to offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs to our more than 1,400 students. The College consists of five academic departments: Biomedical Engineering; Civil Engineering; Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering; and Engineering Technology.  Undergraduate programs in the College are accredited by either the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET or the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. All departments within the college have active Master’s programs.  There are two PhD programs as well:  a PhD in Engineering (concentrations in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering Physics) and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.


The Herff College has a very research-active faculty.  While the faculty of the College make up less than 8% of the faculty on campus, they are responsible for 20% of new research funding at the University.  The research expertise within the college is very diverse, including cell and tissue engineering, chemical & biosensors and diagnostic services, imaging sensors & electronic devices, earthquake engineering, transportation engineering, medical imaging processing, industrial automation & control, computational mechanics, sustainable energy systems, additive manufacturing, fatigue and fracture, aerosol engineering and many other interdisciplinary topics.  The College is home to thirteen research centers and institutes, including the Center for Applied Earth Sciences and Engineering Research, which is the largest interdisciplinary center at the University in terms of both staff and sponsored projects. It also includes a state-of-the-art Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab.


A core value of the College is diversity and inclusion, exemplified through numerous programs designed to enhance students’ experiences and ensure that all students feel like part of the Herff community.  The College culture is one where creativity and entrepreneurship are a way of life, with specific emphasis on integrating research and education.  


The Dean of the Herff College of Engineering must be a visionary leader committed to excellence in research, scholarly productivity, teaching and pedagogy, and service to the field of engineering. The Dean will serve as a liaison and architect of partnerships within the University and across the larger community to facilitate excellence and encourage innovation. The successful candidate will also demonstrate the capacity to build strategic partnerships, raise funds to support the college and its initiatives, manage budgets effectively, cultivate a transformative and inclusive experience for all students, and work collaboratively with a variety of local, state, and national stakeholders.


The Dean must be a strategic thought leader who will continue the momentum and growth that has recently taken place in the college. Between AY’ 12-13 to AY’ 19-20: Overall enrollment in the college increased 30%; overall undergraduate enrollment increased 37%; the number of First Time Freshman (FTF) increased 72%; and the number of BS degrees awarded increased 50%.

In addition, in the Fall of 2023, the new Dean will open a new $41 million, 65,000 square foot facility, dedicated specifically to the STEM disciplines. The University of Memphis’ new state-of-the-art STEM Research and Classroom Building (SRCB) will provide a world-class facility where students and faculty from both the Herff College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences will collaborate to address societal challenges and help students compete on the world stage in scientific and engineering innovation. 


The University of Memphis

Located in a quiet residential neighborhood about 5 miles east of downtown Memphis, the University of Memphis is Tennessee’s second largest university with over 22,000 students.  UofM is now a Tier 1 university ranked by US News and World Report and one of Tennessee’s three comprehensive doctoral-extensive institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1912, the UofM awards more than 4,000 degrees annually and has a goal to achieve and maintain Carnegie R1 status.  Diversity is one of our strengths; students and faculty come from all over the world to be a part of the UofM experience. The campus boasts 25 Chairs of Excellence and five state-approved Centers of Excellence.


The City of Memphis

Memphis, the largest city in the Mid-South, is a beautiful and diverse city with low real estate prices, an excellent quality of life, and award-winning barbecue.  Memphis is an ideal city that is known for innovation in the areas of music, transportation, logistics and medicine, to name a few. Growing from an important 19th century river port, Memphis is known as “America’s Distribution Center” and has become a national crossroads with converging highways and railroads, as well as the busiest air cargo airport in North America that handles more than 4.6 million metric tons of cargo annually.  In addition:


  • Memphis is home to 5 Class 1 railroads, one of only 4 cities with these.
  • Memphis is the 3rd busiest trucking corridor in the U.S., halfway between Canada and Mexico on I-69.
  • Memphis is the 2nd busiest port on the Mississippi River, 5th largest inland Port in the U.S.
  • Memphis is home to national/international corporate and biomedical research entities including FedEx and FedEx Logistics, AutoZone, International Paper, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Service Master. 
  • Memphis is a hub for medical device manufacturers including Wright Medical Company, Medtronic, Smith +Nephew and more.


The city is known for its friendly atmosphere, revitalized downtown, and attractions such as Graceland, Beale Street, Opera Memphis, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Zoo, NBA Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers football and basketball teams, National Civil Rights Museum and nationally-recognized theatre companies.




  • Promote the Vision, Mission, and Values of the University through the activities and programs of the Herff College of Engineering;
  • Recruit and hire excellent and diverse faculty; oversee the tenure and promotion process within the College;
  • Support and foster diversity within the Herff College of Engineering.
  • Provide effective leadership and advocacy for Herff College of Engineering programs and faculty within the University community and the community at large;
  • Articulate a compelling vision for the Herff College of Engineering and put this vision into practice;
  • Strengthen  and execute a strategic plan in alignment with the vision for Herff College of Engineering
  • Oversee the development, assessment, and revision of academic programs;
  • Maintain and enhance the local, national and international reputation of the Herff College of Engineering through the support of scholarship activities;
  • Collaborate with other engineering leaders and professionals; represent the Herff College of Engineering and the University in various environments;
  • Be accountable for budgeting and resource allocation for the Herff College of Engineering;
  • Secure external resources to support the mission of the Herff College of Engineering


Required Qualifications


  • An earned doctorate in engineering or a related field;
  • Eligibility for the rank of Professor with tenure demonstrated by an outstanding record of scholarship, research, teaching, and community service consistent with a senior-level university appointment;
  • Established administrative strengths and abilities, including constructive problem-solving; commitment to recruitment, retention, and faculty development; and a collaborative and accessible leadership style;
  • Ability to manage organizational budgets and resources;
  • A commitment to promoting diversity among the faculty, staff, and student populations;
  • Effectiveness in interpersonal relations, including the ability to initiate and sustain interdisciplinary collaborations;
  • Openness to faculty, staff, and student views;
  • A commitment to and successful experience in building community partnerships and securing external funds;  and/or
  • Ability to embrace technology in support of the Herff College of Engineering educational and research enterprises;
  • Evidence of initiatives on improving excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and student success.






Additional Preferred Qualifications


  • Experience with accreditation policies and procedures of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in order to successfully maintain accreditation for the Herff College of Engineering;
  • Understanding of the university's academic and research mission as a metropolitan research institution;
  • Proven record of successful external fundraising;
  • Ability to foster a collaborative environment
  • Experience with strategic planning;
  • Experience with increasing student enrollment;
  • Experience working at an R1 research institution.


Application Process


The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (a letter of interest, resume/CV, and the names and contact information of five or more references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University.  Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted to the search firm by March 15, 2022.


Porsha Williams, Vice President

Erin Raines, Senior Principal

Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875

Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-804-1996 x109 or x117 |