Dean of Thayer School of Engineering

Dartmouth seeks a dynamic leader and distinguished academic to serve as the Dean of Thayer School of Engineering, a distinctively interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial engineering school. The Dean will assume leadership at a time of tremendous opportunity and growth, overseeing the largest expansion in the School’s history.

Dartmouth seeks a Dean with the creative vision, collaborative spirit, and leadership acumen to guide Thayer School through a phase of unprecedented growth and development. Dartmouth has heavily invested in Thayer’s future, with plans to double the faculty, grow the student body at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and construct a new, interdisciplinary building that will have a lasting impact on both the School and Dartmouth. The Dean will preserve Thayer’s singular culture and identity, while building on existing research strengths and exploring areas of future development. Diversity is a priority at Thayer and the School’s growth will provide opportunities to increase diversity, particularly among faculty and staff. The Dean will also serve as the external face of Thayer, communicating its exceptional story in such a way that raises its profile and visibility. In addition to an outstanding record of scholarly achievement, the successful candidate will bring a deep commitment to shaping the future of engineering education while also furthering the research enterprise through innovative, bold, inspired and effective leadership.

Dartmouth has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in the recruitment of a new Dean of Thayer School. All inquiries, applications, and nominations should be directed in confidence as noted at the end of this document.


Founded in 1769 and located in bucolic New Hampshire, Dartmouth is committed to offering comprehensive liberal arts education combined with focused graduate programs in medicine, business, the sciences, and engineering. A founding member of the Ivy League with a rich scholarly tradition, Dartmouth is consistently counted among the country’s finest research institutions. It educates approximately 4,400 undergraduates and 2,100 graduate students in the Arts & Sciences, the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and its three outstanding professional schools: Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering, and Tuck School of Business.

Dartmouth’s profile is distinctive in higher education in combining the energy, activity, ambitions, and resources of a major research institution with a strong dedication to undergraduate education. Liberal arts are at the very core of the institution and infuse a culture of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and leadership in a complex world. In U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges 2019” Dartmouth was ranked 12th among national universities and number four for faculty commitment to undergraduate teaching. With graduate programs in the arts and sciences, schools of medicine, engineering, and business, and with an unqualified commitment to research, Dartmouth presents itself as a university, yet in size, temperament, and commitment to teaching, it remains a college.

The undergraduate college is a four-year private, liberal arts program with more than 40 academic departments. The admissions process is extremely selective with an acceptance rate of 8 percent for undergraduate admission. For the class of 2022, undergraduate student SAT scores averaged 1480 with 96 percent of students ranked in the top decile in their respective high schools. The student body is remarkably diverse, evenly divided between men and women, with nearly 39 percent of undergraduate students identifying themselves as students of color and 9 percent as international. Dartmouth practices need-blind admissions for all applicants who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents of the U.S., undocumented students in the U.S., and persons granted a refugee visa by the U.S. government. Dartmouth is fully committed to the principles of access and affordability and guarantees to meet 100 percent of these students’ demonstrated need throughout their undergraduate years. Moreover, approximately 51 percent of the student body received need-based scholarships, totaling roughly $97 million, in fiscal year 2018.

A year-round academic calendar and a flexible enrollment plan provide unparalleled opportunities for study abroad and off-campus experiences. Over 60 percent of Dartmouth’s undergraduate students participate in one or more of the over 40 off-campus programs led by Dartmouth faculty in locations throughout the world.

Dartmouth attracts outstanding faculty from around the world and ranks among the highest in the country in per capita research funding. There are 930 faculty members across the institution with 602 who are tenured or on the tenure track. In fiscal year 2017, Dartmouth attracted $207 million in sponsored research funding, and citation indices for all faculty members and the sponsored research productivity of the science and engineering faculty compare favorably with the very best private and public research universities.

Dartmouth is fortunate to have a loyal and committed staff. The Hanover area is a wonderful place for families, and Dartmouth has attracted a talented, creative, and effective team that runs the institution with great vision and care. The College currently employs 2,977 full-time and 358 part-time staff members.

Dartmouth has a profound sense of place. From the Green to the river and the mountains beyond, Dartmouth grounds and transforms all who experience the institution. Among Dartmouth’s greatest assets is its beautiful, historic campus anchored by the centrally located Baker-Berry Library. The central campus consists of 269 acres. The institution’s facilities include over 6.5million gross square feet in 161 buildings, ranging from housing to specialized laboratories, gymnasiums to high tech classrooms, and playing fields to libraries.

On April 27, 2018, Dartmouth announced the public launch of a $3 billion capital campaign. The Call to Lead: A Campaign for Dartmouth will advance the College’s distinctive liberal arts experience, fuel discoveries that improve the human condition, and prepare students—across all disciplines—for lives of leadership. Dartmouth is more than halfway toward its fundraising target, with gifts totaling nearly $1.8 billion from more than 81,000 donors during the past four years. A key initiative of the campaign is the construction of a major new facility to serve as the new home for the Department of Computer Science and Thayer School of Engineering, growing both programs while operating them in a seamless, synergistic manner. While this co-location of computer science and engineering is designed to foster greater scholarly collaboration and integration, the two entities will remain distinct academic units.


Thayer School, one of the oldest professional schools of engineering in the country, features a single unified department of engineering sciences that fosters cross-disciplinary innovation in research and teaching. As such, the School is without peer in the profession. At the undergraduate level, Thayer has long been committed to the idea of the liberal engineer, integrating a strong liberal arts foundation with professional and technical skills. Moreover, the School has been a trailblazer in its efforts to educate female engineers, granting more than 50 percent of its undergraduate degrees to women in the year 2016, a national first. Thayer is also home to the nation’s first engineering PhD Innovation Program, designed to train and graduate engineers with both technical and entrepreneurial expertise.

Engineering research at Dartmouth is cutting-edge, interdisciplinary in scope, and often leads to patentable results. The School has excelled in entrepreneurship with faculty and students experiencing great success taking ideas, first incubated at Thayer, to market. On a per capita basis, with more than one third of Thayer faculty starting a company based on their scholarly work, Thayer is one of the most entrepreneurial research-based schools of engineering in the nation.

Thayer was founded in 1867 on the strength of a $40,000 gift by Dartmouth alumnus Sylvanus Thayer. In the words of its founder, the School exists “to prepare the most capable and faithful for the most responsible positions and the most difficult service.” Engineering research at Dartmouth reflects the Thayer belief that innovation begins at the intersection of disciplines. The School exists as a single unified department of engineering sciences, fostering a spirit of collaboration, creativity, and innovation, and enabling faculty to draw on multiple areas of expertise, including entrepreneurship, to address critical human needs. Thayer faculty conduct cross-disciplinary research in the areas of biological and chemical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, energy, engineering in medicine, materials science, and mechanical and systems engineering. In its non-departmentalized structure, faculty and students organically come together to tackle real world problems in and out of the classroom or laboratory, focused by the work at hand as opposed to framing it within traditional disciplines.

As the smallest engineering school in the Ivy League, Thayer has thoughtfully cultivated an environment where faculty are as devoted to teaching as they are to their research. All classes in the School are taught by professors, further sustaining interaction between students and faculty and strengthening a sense of community within the integrated department and facility.

Unlike any other engineering school in the U.S., all engineering sciences majors must first earn a Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree from Dartmouth, a requirement that has been in place for more than 50 years and reflects Thayer’s firm commitment to the liberal arts. Most majors take additional courses leading to the professional, ABET-accredited Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree specifically awarded by Thayer. During the 2017–2018 school year, 231 students were enrolled in the AB program and 58 in the BE program. The overall popularity of engineering at Dartmouth has also grown, with currently more than 70 percent of undergraduates enrolling in at least one engineering or computer science course during their time on campus.

Student interest in engineering has doubled in the past decade. The increased popularity of engineering at Dartmouth has extended across gender lines, as the School has both witnessed and bolstered the sharp rise in the percentage of engineering graduates who are women. In 2016, Dartmouth granted 52 percent of its undergraduate engineering degrees to women, making it the first national research university to award more bachelor’s degrees in engineering to women thanto men. At that time, and currently, the national average hovers at 20 percent.

Thayer is home to a well-funded graduate research program, offering its students the MEng, MS, PhD, dual degrees with Geisel School of Medicine, and the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) in partnership with the Tuck School of Business. The MEM program boasts a 100 percent job placement rate. Thayer also recently started the nation’s first engineering PhD Innovation Program designed to help doctoral candidates develop the skills needed to bring advanced research to the marketplace. The most recent academic year saw 102 students enrolled in the MEM program, 1 in the MEng, 8 in the MS, and 111 in the PhD programs.

Thayer has made it a point to integrate entrepreneurship and leadership training into all levels of the engineering curriculum. The program offers undergraduates a full menu of project opportunities; at least three-quarters of the introductory courses and almost a third of electives beyond sophomore level involve team projects. Some of these undergraduate projects are already having real-world consequences. For example, the Mobile Virtual Player (MVP), a remote-controlled robotic tackling dummy designed by then Thayer students as their ENGS 89/90 project, has greatly reduced the risk of concussions in football by reducing contact between players during practice. Mobile Virtual Player LLC, now an independent, privately held company, has numerous clients in the NFL, the NCAA, and a host of high schools throughout the nation. Since 2000, Thayer School PhD candidates have filed over 100 patent applications. In 2008, the School’s commitment to cultivating engineers with both technical and entrepreneurial expertise was further emphasized when the PhD Innovation Program was established. In 2014, in recognition of these wide-ranging efforts, the School received the National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize for creating an integrated program in engineering innovation from undergraduate through the doctorate to prepare students for engineering leadership.

This enterprising spirit and generous institutional support for these endeavors extends to the faculty. Despite its small size, per capita, Thayer faculty are the most entrepreneurial in the country compared to other top engineering schools. Dartmouth’s generous patent policy helps promote startups and 55 percent of tenure-track faculty have founded start-ups, and 45 percent of tenure-track faculty hold patents for work done at Thayer. Thayer faculty are funded at rates above the national average with 118 new awards totaling $21.2M received in FY18. Research expenditures have been rising steadily with increasing diversity in funding sources and are expected to reach $25 million next year.

As of July 2018, the Thayer community is comprised of 56 faculty including 38 tenure line faculty, 100 staff, and 24 research associates. Additional faculty lines are already committed to grow critical mass in the following fields: engineering in medicine, energy, and design. Of the staff, 21 are embedded in research groups under direct supervision of faculty, 40 are directly integrated into the academic and instructional support of the faculty, and 39 are dedicated to the infrastructure and administrative support of the School. For fiscal year 2018, Thayer had an operating budget of $59.4 million and an endowment of $157.5 million.

Thayer benefits from the support of a highly engaged Board of Advisors. The Board of Advisors, all but one of whom are either Dartmouth or Thayer alumni, works closely with the Dean and other senior leaders at the School to advise on the strategic direction and growth of the School, provide outside perspective on workforce needs and market trends, and also contribute to its financial well-being.

At present, Dartmouth is designing a new building to support the planned expansion of Thayer School and the Department of Computer Science and the relocation of the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship to the “West End” of campus. The integration of engineering, computer science, and entrepreneurial innovation will allow for easy collaboration, as faculty and students share an open space designed to encourage informal conversation and meetings. The West End expansion will, over time, double the size of the Thayer faculty to a projected total of 70 tenure-track professors, and computer science will increase its faculty by 50 percent, thereby increasing access to faculty through lowered student-faculty ratios. The new building will enhance space and teaching capacity to offer engineering and computer science courses to all interested Dartmouth students; support the growing numbers of majors in both areas; increase research capacity, and double the square-footage available to the programs.

The new building is being funded wholly through philanthropy and developed in partnership with engineering and arts and sciences to maximize the interface between the computational and physical elements of similar fields. Breaking ground on the building is planned to begin in 2019 and run through mid-2021, on the current timetable.



Philip J. Hanlon became the 18th President of Dartmouth on June 10, 2013. A 1977 graduate, Hanlon is the 10th Dartmouth alumnus to serve as its president.

As President, Hanlon has championed academic excellence and encouraged innovation in scholarship and teaching. He has launched initiatives to build interdisciplinary strength around global challenges, expanded opportunities for experiential learning, and initiated new seed funding programs to support cutting-edge research and creative endeavors. He launched the Irving Institute for Energy and Society, established the DEN Innovation and New Venture Incubator, and created the Society of Fellows, an interdisciplinary community of scholars committed to the integration of research and teaching. Committed to reining in the costs of higher education, Hanlon has maintained fiscal rigor, establishing an annual institution-wide reallocation process, while holding tuition increases to the lowest levels since the 1970s. At the same time, he has overseen record levels of giving. An award-winning mathematician, Hanlon is a proud member of the faculty and teaches first-year calculus at Dartmouth.

Prior to returning to Dartmouth, Hanlon served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan, where he was also the Donald J. Lewis Collegiate Professor of Mathematics. Hanlon was a member of the Michigan faculty for over 20 years and held a variety of administrative posts during his tenure.


Joseph J. Helble served as Dean of Thayer School from 2005 until assuming his new post as Provost of Dartmouth in October 2018. During his 13-year tenure as Dean, Thayer’s funding grew to record levels and enrollment nearly doubled, with commitments to significant growth and investment on pace to continue well into the future.

Prior to his arrival at Dartmouth, Helble was the Roger Revelle Fellow of the AAAS and spent a year working on technology and environmental policy issues in the office of then U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman. Helble was also a professor of chemical engineering and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut, where he received the inaugural Environmental Faculty Leadership Award. He has done research in areas of air pollution, carbon dioxide capture, aerosol science, and nanoscale materials production. He previously worked as a research scientist at Physical Sciences Inc. in Andover, Massachusetts, and as a science and policy fellow of the AAAS at the Environmental Protection Agency.


The Dean of Thayer School reports to the Provost and serves as the chief academic and executive officer of the School. The Dean is tasked with providing strategic leadership that both enhances the academic distinction of Thayer and shepherds the School through a critical period in its history. The Dean will oversee unprecedented faculty and student body growth as well as the construction of a new, interdisciplinary facility that will have a lasting impact on the School and the fulfillment of its mission. Thayer’s next Dean will have an opportunity to articulate a revised vision and structure for Thayer’s graduate research and education which anticipates and accommodates growth, and strengthens selected academic areas while maintaining the hallmarks of an interdisciplinary, non-departmentalized engineering school. Thayer constituents are enthusiastic about the plan for growth at Thayer and they are eager to partner with a new dean whose leadership and vision will continue their impressive trajectory and distinctive position within the field.

The Dean’s current senior leadership team of direct reports includes a Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, an Assistant Dean for Administration, a Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, an Executive Director for Advancement, and a Senior Director of Communications and Creative Services.

Dartmouth employs a decentralized responsibility-centered management budget model, whereby the deans enjoy relative autonomy in the financial management of their schools. The Thayer Dean is responsible for the long-term financial well-being and sustainability of the School and oversees an operating budget of $59.4 million and an endowment of $157.5 million. Thayer has a history of strong financial standing with a positive net operating balance for 26 consecutive years.

The new Dean will provide leadership and vision; promote the external visibility of Thayer; foster a world-class student experience; develop and support faculty and staff; advance world-class research in selected areas, creativity, and entrepreneurship; and manage the School’s fiscal and physical resources. In addition, the Dean will effectively work with alumni, the Board of Advisors, and other benefactors to enhance the reputation and reach of the School and garner financial support.

More specifically, the Thayer Dean will address the following:


Raise the external profile and visibility of the School

Over the previous decade, Thayer, despite its small size, has undergone a rapid and sustained rise, garnering national attention for its landmark efforts educating undergraduate women, its cutting-edge research, and its distinguished record of entrepreneurial success. A skilled communicator and storyteller, the next Dean will further enhance the School’s prominence among its peers, nationally and globally, within the academy and beyond. The Dean will champion the engineering faculty and students, trumpeting their scholarly accomplishments, innovative teaching excellence, and entrepreneurial successes. In promoting Thayer to external audiences, the Dean will capitalize on existing strengths, leverage Dartmouth’s Ivy League brand, and chart out new avenues of innovation and distinction, while also advancing the broad excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration that are hallmarks of Thayer.

Grow and diversify the faculty

As Thayer expands along strategic lines, the next Dean will have a tremendous opportunity to grow the faculty in the coming years. This unique hiring opportunity will come as a result of the availability of approximately 31 new lines as well as 11 anticipated retirements, in effect, nearly doubling the size of the Thayer faculty over the next decade. With many of these new hires slated to occur at the level of assistant professor, the Dean will need to ensure that robust mechanisms for mentoring and faculty development are put into place. While there will be an emphasis on faculty appointments in engineering in medicine, energy, and design, the new Dean will have considerable latitude to make use of additional open lines to hire in other areas of need and strategic growth. Amid the faculty growth, there will also be a great desire for the next Dean to diversify the faculty along gender and racial lines. While Thayer has been a national leader in its efforts to train and graduate female engineers, faculty diversity has been a challenge. In short, the next Dean will be poised to shape the future trajectory and face of the School vis-à-vis the faculty for a generation to come.

Maintain a strong sense of internal culture amid growth and significant change

While the new Dean will arrive at a time of exciting, significant change and expansion, it will be incumbent on this incoming leader to retain the core cultural values of Thayer, namely a strong sense of community, a passion for the liberal arts, and a dedication to an interdisciplinary approach devoid of departments. As the faculty body grows, the Dean will pay special attention to fostering a cohesive and collaborative environment and preventing the development of disciplinary silos while at the same time raising the strength and profile of Thayer research in selected areas. Furthermore, as the Dean strives to grow the research enterprise and the respective graduate programs, they must be able to preserve Thayer’s longstanding commitment to undergraduate education and teaching excellence.

The Dean will also need to be thoughtful with respect to the nature and pace of change, recognizing that certain structures and processes may need to be revised or reconsidered to accommodate the shift in scale and properly facilitate the desired growth.

Promote cross-campus and external collaborations and interdisciplinary work

While the Dean’s central responsibility is the health and success of the School, the Dean is also a leader on the campus, welcoming and seeking out ways to collaborate with other units for mutual benefit and to advance the priorities of Dartmouth. Building upon existing relationships with Arts & Sciences, Geisel School of Medicine, and Tuck School of Business, the Dean will foster interdisciplinary connections across campus and be an open and innovative partner with other deans, the provost, and the president, working to further research and programmatic initiatives that cross traditional boundaries and have the potential for transformational impact. 

In addition, the Dean will be expected to enhance Thayer’s core strength in entrepreneurship by fostering novel connections with outside industry, supporting faculty and student start-ups, as well as efforts to transfer technology to the private sector. A strong partnership with the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer will serve the Dean well in this regard.

Enhance Thayer’s financial position through philanthropy and diligent resource management

The next Dean of Thayer will be called upon to further existing fundraising efforts in connection with the current capital campaign and in service of the new facility. Arriving at a landmark moment in the School’s history, the Dean will be uniquely positioned to articulate a compelling vision that builds on Thayer’s storied past, while heralding the unparalleled potential of its future. Beyond these focused efforts, the Dean will work in concert with Thayer’s Executive Director of Advancement to seek out additional gifts to support the long-term vitality and prosperity of the School.

The new Dean will join Thayer as the School is in the latter stages of fundraising for a world-class facility that will house Thayer, the Department of Computer Science, and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network. The Dean must see to it that the necessary additional funds are raised to break ground, ideally in 2019, and that the building project proceeds according to schedule. Once completed, it will be equally important that the Dean manage a smooth and seamless transition into the new space.


The search committee understands that no single candidate will have all the ideal qualifications, but it seeks individuals with the following experience and abilities:


Dartmouth has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in its identification and review of candidates. Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be sent electronically and in confidence to:

Kate Barry, Partner
Elizabeth Dorr, Senior Associate
David Ferguson, Associate
Isaacson, Miller
263 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02210



Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. The College prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected status. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged.