College of Engineering appoints interim dean

The entrance to the College of Engineering building features a Buzz statue dressed in business casual attire. // Photo by Garrett Shoemaker Student Publications

Following the appointment of former dean of engineering Steven McLaughlin to the position of provost, the Institute has begun a full-scale search for a replacement dean. The search started just a few days ago, but the Institute plans on having a replacement picked by the end of the 2020 calendar year, with the intention of having the new ready to begin duties as soon as January.

This timeline is most certainly short, but the Institute has limited the candidates to only tenured professors currently working at Tech. While that still constitutes quite a few individuals, the Institute has a very clear picture of the type of dean they are looking for: someone with external stature who still has an in-depth knowledge of the Institute and its inner workings.

The Institute has made it clear that the new College of Engineering dean would work not only on their administrative duties but also on student well-being as a top priority.

“We are here to serve students first and foremost,” said Provost McLaughlin in a virtual town hall for faculty, staff, and students on October 20th, speaking as to the role a dean should play in ensuring all students are able to perform their best as much as possible.

With plans to ensure that the new dean is readily accessible to students and easy to approach, McLaughlin is certainly working to ensure a dean isn’t chosen at the expense of the student body.

As to how the new dean should go about helping students, Ayana Howard, chair in the School of Interactive Computing and the search director for the new dean, shared her thoughts at the virtual town hall as well.

“The new generation of students has really started to think about their roles as responsible engineers”, says Howard. “What does that look like [in the next generation of students], and how can the new dean help that mission?”

Howard, and by extension the Institute as a whole, is quite aware of the impact a new dean can have on students and is working to ensure that the goals of faculty, staff and students are taken into consideration together while picking the next dean of the College of Engineering.

While the Institute is doing everything it can to make sure the process is as fair to students as possible, they also acknowledge that they can’t know everything students are concerned about during this search.

As a result, the Institute has opened virtual town halls and interview sessions to the student body and Tech community to ensure that everybody has a say in the process.

To be involved in the search, Tech community members can visit the News Center on the Institute’s website to read up on search updates and find links to participate in the virtual conversations.