Joseph J. Helble

Joseph J. Helble Professor of Engineering & Provost, Dartmouth College

Board Member: Ex officio

BS, Lehigh University
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joseph J. Helble is Professor of Engineering since 2005 and was the 12th Dean of Thayer School from 2005–2018 until becoming Provost at Dartmouth College.

During his tenure as Dean, the School undertook a strategic planning process that identified three broadly interdisciplinary areas —Engineering in Medicine; Energy Technologies; and Complex Systems—as the focus of growth and investment. Faculty hiring is now focused in two of these areas, and new graduate and undergraduate courses have been developed to support these efforts. Building on the efforts of the school’s entrepreneurial faculty, he has also overseen the 2008 establishment of the nation's first doctoral-level engineering Innovation Program to address the growing need for people with both high-level technical and entrepreneurial expertise. Also during his tenure, engineering enrollments in the undergraduate and PhD programs have nearly doubled, and the School has developed several new offerings for engineering students, including two engineering exchange programs in Asia, a modified major with public policy for those interested in careers in public service, a summer design program for creative high school students interested in exploring engineering, and a new biomedical engineering sciences major developed specifically for engineering students interested in attending medical school. 

Prior to his tenure at Dartmouth, Dr. Helble was the Roger Revelle Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), enabling him to spend an academic year addressing technology and environmental policy issues in the office of US Senator Joseph Lieberman. 

Previously, Dr. Helble was a member and later chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut, with research in the areas of air pollution, CO2 capture, aerosols, and nanoscale materials production. From 1987 to 1995, he was employed as a research scientist and manager at Physical Sciences Inc. in Andover MA, specializing in environmental and energy technology development. In 1993, he also worked at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC as a science and policy fellow of AAAS. 

Dr. Helble has served on several EPA Science Advisory Board panels, and is presently on the editorial boards of two scientific journals. He is the author of over 100 publications in the areas of air pollution, aerosols, nanoscale ceramics, and air quality, and 3 US patents related to nanoscalepowder production. He was a recipient of a young faculty Career Award from NSF, an outstanding young faculty award from the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, and the inaugural environmental faculty leadership award from the University of Connecticut. 

In 2014, Dr. Helble, along with three Thayer faculty colleagues, was named recipient of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education for the design and implementation of Dartmouth’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program, an educational paradigm that integrates entrepreneurship into all levels of the engineering curriculum—from the undergraduate through the doctoral level—to prepare students for technology leadership. 

Dr. Helble is a 1982 summa cum laude chemical engineering graduate of Lehigh University and a 1987 chemical engineering PhD graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.