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Robert J. Vlasic Dean, College of Engineering

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date posted
Oct 17, 2023

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Position Type
Administrative, Deans
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

University of Michigan

College of Engineering

The University of Michigan is ranked in the top 35 of the 1,500 higher education institutions across 104 locations in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2024 edition. Among national universities, U.S. News and World Report regularly ranks the University of Michigan as a top 25 institution. The University has also held the title as the third ranked public university every year since 2019 and is the U.S. public university with the second highest National Science Foundation (NSF) research volume.

The University of Michigan is a national leader in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across its campus. In the fall of 2015, the University of Michigan embarked upon a renewed commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and engaged in a yearlong period of intense planning. To date, the University has made earnest and notable strides, and each of the 50 schools, colleges, and units provided comprehensive summaries highlighting their unique efforts over DEI 1.0 – the first five years of U-M’s DEI Strategic Planning and Implementation Process. In Fall 2023, the University will launch the next phase of its strategic planning effort, DEI 2.0.

The College of Engineering at the University of Michigan is one of the most powerful forces for engineering and technology innovation in the world - it is a bellwether in a solution-focused, forward-thinking field. The College has pioneered People-First Engineering as both a goal and a practice that re-imagines what engineering can be by closing critical gaps and elevating all people. An influential unit on campus and in the field of engineering, the College has invested in interconnected and collaborative approaches to engineering education and research to pursue more sustainable and holistic solutions and innovations. On a campus with leading business, health, and liberal arts colleges, the College of Engineering shares buildings with social scientists, auto manufacturers, doctors, and artists. People-First Engineering represents the future of the field as it centers around engineering fundamentals, integrated expertise, and equity-centered values that will shape research, collaborations, and culture.

The College is home to 12 departments and 19 centers. It is distinguished by its breadth of excellence; nearly every degree program in the College ranks among the top ten nationally in the U.S. News and World Report for undergraduate and graduate education, with several in the top five: Aerospace Engineering (#8 undergraduate program/#5 graduate program); Biomedical Engineering (#6/#9); Chemical Engineering (#11/#10); Civil Engineering (#10/#5); Computer Engineering (#6/#7); Electrical Engineering (#9/#4); Environmental Engineering (#4/#2); Industrial Engineering (#5/#2); Materials Engineering (#4/#7); Mechanical Engineering (#8/#5); and Nuclear Engineering(--/#1).

A destination for exploration of what is possible, the College has a robust history of exploring new ideas at the intersection of disciplines, including center-level efforts at scale. The College of Engineering is one of only nine institutions that will receive $18 million from the NSF for an interdisciplinary Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), which will focus on developing (1) new layered materials with tailored nanoscale structures for quantum information processing, and (2) new recyclable polymeric materials capable of self-healing with potential applications. In 2023, the state of Michigan awarded the University’s College of Engineering with $130 million to launch the Electric Vehicle Center (EV Center), which will support the modernization of the auto industry and support the establishment of a more robust EV ecosystem. An $11M/four-year DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) is probing the chemo-mechanical phenomena underlying the processing and electrochemical dynamics of ceramic ion conductors for clean energy systems.

The College of Engineering boasts tremendous research infrastructure and facilities such as the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF) that was first opened in 1986 to conduct pioneering work in MEMS and integrated systems, and that today houses micro-, nano-, and opto-electronics fabrication capabilities. The MCity facility, managed by the public-private partnership of the Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), contains urban and suburban environments to simulate a broad range of complex situations to test the autonomous vehicles of the future. The Ford Robotics Building houses the new Department of Robotics, including active learning instructional space, flexible dry research labs, office and student services spaces, as well as space for machines that walk, fly, drive, and swim. The $145 million Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building, a collaboration with the School of Information, leverages the College’s expertise in computing and information; it will expand the footprint of the College of Engineering by 163,000 square feet and is scheduled to be completed in summer 2025.

The Robert J. Vlasic Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan is the chief academic and executive officer of the College and a key member of the University’s leadership team. The Dean is charged with encouraging a culture of innovation and excellence within the College and collaborating with the other deans at the university level on shared initiatives for the benefit of the University and the state of Michigan. The Dean reports to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

In the University’s highly decentralized RCM budgeting model, the Dean has considerable autonomy to execute on strategic priorities for the College of Engineering. The Dean has primary responsibility for the allocation, maintenance, and growth of the $307 million yearly operating budget. Within the College, the Dean is one of seven voting members of the Executive Committee, a rotating elected body of senior faculty that is responsible for hiring and key aspects of the promotion and tenure process. Administratively, the Dean oversees critical functional units of finance, information technology, communications, advancement, and academic and student affairs to ensure that they are best aligned to support the academic mission of the College. The Dean is also responsible for representing the College with the state legislature, the federal government, and other government groups. In addition, the Dean is the chief steward of relationships with the College’s alumni base and with industry partners to ensure further support and opportunities for scholars, students, and graduates.

The next Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering will be a leader with an ambitious vision, a collegial and consultative leadership style, and the energy and integrity to inspire the College of Engineering to heightened levels of excellence. Candidates should demonstrate bold, effective leadership in a large, highly complex enterprise and a record of accomplishment in creating and supporting a climate of community, inclusivity, and respect.

The University of Michigan invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Dean of the College of Engineering. Interested candidates should confidentially submit a curriculum vitae and letter of interest (Adobe PDF files preferred) to

Joi Hayes-Scott and Jett Pihakis

Russell Reynolds Associates


For fullest consideration, materials should be received as soon as possible and preferably by November 6.


For more information please see the full position description here

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