Chair, Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering

Job Details

Job Summary

Purdue University Northwest seeks an experienced and enthusiastic academic leader to serve as the Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering within the School of Engineering, starting July 1, 2024, and is now inviting nominations for, and expressions of interest in this pivotal position. The Chair is expected to provide a contemporary vision and leadership and will play a key role in expanding and strengthening the growing programs in the unit.


Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a premier metropolitan university located in Northwest Indiana, is dedicated to empowering transformational change in its students on its two campuses in Hammond and Westville, Indiana. Part of the Purdue University system and offering more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, PNW is committed to academic excellence, supports growth, and celebrates diversity. PNW’s colleges, schools and centers are distinguished through prestigious accreditations, national recognitions, and competitive rankings.

PNW’s Hammond campus is located only 30 miles from Chicago with the Westville branch campus just 15 miles from the Indiana Dunes National Park. Fostering a university community full of contrasts—urban and rural, industrial and natural, with a well-established history and forward-thinking mindset—PNW’s two campuses serve its students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college to make the most of this rich range of resources. Moreover, PNW has been designated as a Hispanic-serving public institution dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning and committed to the advancement of a diverse and under-served student population.


PNW’s School of Engineering is part of the College of Engineering and Sciences (CES) at Purdue Northwest. CES serves about 1,300 undergraduate students and 160 graduate students across a wide range of academic programs, providing them with a variety of options by offering seven master’s and eleven bachelor’s programs, a certificate program in mechatronics, and a post-bachelor certificate in Engineering Project Management. About half of the undergraduate and graduate student populations in the college are enrolled in engineering programs which are managed under PNW’s School of Engineering.

The School of Engineering currently comprises three departments: Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science. Closely affiliated with the School are two distinguished and award-winning research centers, the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) and the Purdue University Northwest Water Institute (PWI).

The School is actively working to raise the profile of PNW’s engineering programs while continuing excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, increasing campus diversity and building partnerships outside of the university that will benefit students, faculty, staff, and the region that the University serves. The department chair is expected to work closely with the director of the School of Engineering and the dean of the College of Engineering and Science to raise the profile of PNW’s engineering programs. In addition, the School is expanding facilities and undertaking major capital improvements across both campuses. A new engineering design studio opened in 2019.

The School’s programs were ranked by US News & World Report in their category of Best Engineering Programs at engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. All of PNW’s engineering programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.


The Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (MCE) is a multi-disciplinary unit currently serving about 332 undergraduate majors and 44 graduate students. The department includes 11 tenured and tenure-track faculty members, one visiting faculty member, and two staff members. The unit offers bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical and Civil Engineering, as well as master’s degrees in Mechanical and Interdisciplinary Engineering with concentration in Civil Engineering.

The MCE department takes pride in their students regularly participating in a host of engineering competitions and technical conferences. MCE teams have won dozens of awards in regional, national and international events including NASA’s Great Moon Buggy Race and Human Exploration Rover Challenge, SAE Formula One, EV Grand Prix, ASCE Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Design, ASHRAE Best Papers, and AIST Best Papers. Faculty are actively involved in research and have garnered externally funded grants, awards, and patents for their work.

The department is on a path of vigorous growth with the expectation of and support for the addition of new academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Additional programs being considered include environmental engineering and materials engineering. The unit is also expected to contribute to a new bio-engineering program discussed in the college. The new department chair will thus have the opportunity to shape the future of his or her department in a very significant way.

Department Chair

The Department Chair is the Chief Administrative Officer of the department, reporting directly to the director of the School. The individual in this position serves as a leader and facilitator, a vital role for the success and well-being of the academic unit as well as the faculty and staff. The chair is responsible for directing and overseeing all matters related to the academic unit with the input and support of all members of the department. The chair is expected to foster an environment conducive to faculty productivity and student achievement and promote an atmosphere of mutual respect, equity, and collegiality among faculty and students.

  • An earned doctorate in a discipline appropriate to the department;
  • Academic qualifications for appointment at the rank of Professor in the department;
  • An understanding of and experience with the ABET accreditation process.

The successful candidate should possess the following skills and qualifications:
  • Strong communication and relationship building skills;
  • Excellent and proven leadership skills, with experience directing and managing faculty and staff in a collaborative and transparent manner;
  • A record of enhancing the teaching and learning mission of an academic program;
  • A vision for promoting students’ success including the improvement of existing undergraduate and graduate programs;
  • A clear vision for promoting excellence in teaching, research, and service and enhancing faculty development;
  • Demonstrated experience enhancing research and scholarly productivity among faculty;
  • An ability to effectively represent the MCE department and build relationships with other colleges and departments within PNW and outside;
  • A broad understanding of engineering, science, and technology to be able to attract new funding and enable investments that advance education, infrastructure, and research.

All applications must be submitted electronically on the PNW Careers Faculty webpage. The search committee will begin reviewing applications for the position on October 1, 2023 and will continue to accept nominations and applications until the position is filled. A complete application packet will include a letter of interest in the position, current curriculum vitae, and contact information for at least 5 professional references.

PNW is committed to advancing diversity in all areas of faculty effort, including scholarship, instruction, and engagement. Candidates should address at least one of these areas in their cover letter, indicating their experiences, current interests or activities, and/or future goals to promote a climate that values diversity and inclusion.

PNW is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters. Candidates are encouraged to address in their cover letter how they are prepared to contribute to a climate that values free inquiry and academic freedom.

All inquiries, nominations, and applications will remain confidential; references will not be contacted without notice. Employment is contingent upon completion of successful background check.

Purdue University Northwest is an EOE/AA employer. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

FLSA Status


Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a premier metropolitan university located in Northwest Indiana that is dedicated to empowering transformational change in our students and in our community.

PNW sits between Chicago’s skyscrapers and Lake Michigan’s sandy shores. Diverse, hardworking, and innovative, we’re where academic excellence meets real-world experience. At PNW, students from next door and students from halfway across the world come together to learn, grow, and connect.

At Purdue University Northwest, we go beyond the classroom, walking the extra mile with students to empower confidence and encourage real-world experiences. We push beyond the boundaries of innovation to drive engagement and make an impact in Northwest Indiana and the world at large.

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