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Department Head

Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia
Commensurate with Experience
Start date
Oct 13, 2023

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech invites applications for the position of Department Head & Nicholas and Rebecca Des Champs Chair, with a start in the Summer of 2024. 

The Department of Mechanical Engineering ( is ranked 13th and 17th in undergraduate and graduate education, respectively, out of all ME departments in the nation by the 2023-24 U.S. News and World Report.  The department includes 64 faculty, 33 affiliate faculty, 25 staff, and a current enrollment of 1,176 undergraduates and 321 graduate students.  Annual research expenditures exceed $20M.

The Department seeks strong candidates capable of further advancing the department's reputation as an international leader in innovative research, scholarship, and educational practice that enhances the world for current and future generations.  The Department Head will serve as an integral member of the College of Engineering leadership team, serving as an advocate to the university administration and external stakeholders, and will have substantive oversight in leading and executing the Department’s mission.  We are seeking dynamic, visionary, and collegial candidates with significant leadership experience and a passion for influencing the future of the department and the field of mechanical engineering.  Candidates should be able to lead the department's efforts in research, education, mentoring, and service, as well as contribute to further advancing the interdisciplinary and collaborative culture in the department.  The ideal candidate should have demonstrated success in affecting positive change in leading and mentoring colleagues and students, both within their institution and at the national level.  Candidates should have professional achievements commensurate with appointment at the rank of Full Professor or a non-academic equivalent. 


Virginia Tech's main campus is located in Blacksburg, VA, which is consistently ranked among the country's best places to live.  A brand new 285,500 ft2 building, Wendy and Norris E. Mitchell ’58 Hall is scheduled to open in Fall 2028 and will serve as a central hub for College of Engineering with added space for the Mechanical Engineering department.  In addition, Virginia Tech’s facilities in the Washington, D.C. metro area offer unique proximity to government and industry partners and are expanding rapidly, with the new Innovation Campus in Alexandria, VA slated to open in 2024.  The Mechanical Engineering faculty benefit from several university-wide institutes, such as the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), Fralin Biomedical Research Institute (FBRI), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), and College-level centers such as the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center (UTC) and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM). 


Applicants must apply online at (posting number 527354).  Application materials include: a 2–3 page cover letter that describes their qualifications, a vision for leading the Department, and how they would advance Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community;  a full curriculum vitae; and contact information for at least four references who can discuss the applicant's leadership, communication, and decision-making effectiveness.  Questions or informal nominations should be directed to the search committee, chaired by Prof. Wing Ng ( 540-231-7274.  Review of applicants will begin on December 1st and will continue until the position is filled.  


Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university with a motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve).  The mission of the Department of Mechanical Engineering is to serve its undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and its nation through a variety of teaching, research, service, and scholarly activities.  The Department fully embraces Virginia Tech's commitment to increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity, ensuring a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate.  Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status.  If you are a person with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact the Human Resources Services Center at or at (540) 231-9331.


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