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Leadership Profile: Dean, School of Engineering

Campus Announcements

April 5, 2022 | From Jeffrey M. Osborn, provost and vice president for academic affairs, to the campus community

Dear TCNJ Campus Community:

Following an eight-month, national search, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Andrea L. Welker as dean of the School of Engineering, effective July 1, 2022.

Dr. Welker comes to TCNJ from Villanova University, where she began her faculty career in 1999. In her current leadership role, which she has held for six years, she serves as associate dean for academic affairs for the College of Engineering. Dr. Welker is responsible for undergraduate programs and policies; diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; student programming, support, and retention; entrepreneurial engineering programs; strategic planning and implementation; and assessment.

Dr. Welker was a co-founder of the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, which introduced professional development opportunities on inclusive pedagogy and intergenerational communication, and it secured funding for students from underrepresented groups to travel to professional conferences, among other initiatives. As a result of these efforts, Villanova’s College of Engineering was recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education with Bronze status for diversity in engineering, a distinction that Villanova shares with TCNJ.

Dr. Welker’s strategy work led to the college’s development of an Honors Program and a Grand Challenge Scholars Program, based on the National Academy of Engineering’s grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. Institutionally, Villanova has been strategically growing and recently advanced in its classification from a regional to a national university, which resulted in part by the College of Engineering’s increased research activity. In particular, Dr. Welker is a lead member of one of the most productive research centers at Villanova, the Center for Resilient Water Systems.

Dr. Welker has also provided substantial leadership in international partnerships and programming. She has led the college’s study abroad efforts, including creating a new partnership with Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to the pandemic, her commitment to internationalization led to a significant increase in engineering undergraduates studying globally: 30% of Villanova’s engineering students studied abroad compared to the national average of 5%.

At the national level, Dr. Welker has been deeply engaged with the American Society for Engineering Education. She has held numerous leadership positions within ASEE, including serving as Chair of the Civil Engineering Division. She has also been a national leader for the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurship Network. Additionally, in 2021 she accepted the ABET Innovation Award for Career Compass professional development program.

Dr. Welker serves on the Villanova faculty as professor of civil and environmental engineering. She has taught a diverse range of courses and has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students. In fact, two TCNJ engineering alumni completed their graduate degrees with Dr. Welker. Her research program has been funded by grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency, PA Department of Environmental Protection, William Penn Foundation, and Delaware Watershed Research Fund.

Dr. Welker earned both her BS and MS from Drexel University and her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, all in civil engineering.

Recruiting a new dean requires the engagement of the entire college community, and I am grateful to all those who participated throughout the extensive search. I especially want to thank the nine faculty, staff, and student members of the search committee, which was led by Carole Kenner, dean of the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science. The committee’s dedication and commitment to a thoughtful, comprehensive, and inclusive process led to this successful outcome.

We are delighted to bring such a distinguished administrator-teacher-scholar to this important deanship. Dr. Welker has wide-ranging experience in developing and transforming programs, growing research engagement, practicing inclusive excellence, and leading strategically. Coupled with her focus on the value of connections, an entrepreneurial mindset, and the powerful impacts of an engineering education, Dr. Welker is a terrific match for the School of Engineering and TCNJ.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Andrea Welker.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey M. Osborn
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

News release: Andrea Welker named dean of TCNJ School of Engineering

March 7, 2022 | From Carole Kenner, search committee chair for the Dean of the School of Engineering, to the campus community

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February 28, 2022 | From Carole Kenner, search committee chair for the Dean of the School of Engineering, to the campus community

Click here to view this message, which can only be accessed if you are signed into your TCNJ Gmail account. (You will not be able to access it if you are signed into a personal, non-TCNJ Gmail account.)

January 5, 2022 | From Carole Kenner and Suzanne McCotter, committee chairs for dean searches, to the campus community

Dear TCNJ Campus Community,

We are writing on behalf of the Dean of the School of Science and Dean of the School of Engineering Search Committee members with an update on our progress.

We are very pleased to share that the searches are moving ahead well and on schedule. The committee members met in late December for recruitment updates and to initiate the systematic review of applications.

We learned from our Storbeck Search consultants that the TCNJ opportunities are resonating well among prospective candidates. The College’s mission, programmatic array, and student-centered approach are attracting impressive leaders to the search, and we look forward to engaging with them.

The process of building talented and diverse pools of well-qualified candidates is ongoing. We ask once more for your help in identifying promising prospects or people who might be able to suggest such prospects. Please reach out to our consulting team, Julie Tea, Ruth Shoemaker Wood and Julie Williams-Krishnan at TCNJScienceDean@storbecksearch.com or TCNJEngineeringDean@storbecksearch.com with names and contact information related to any potential candidates.

The committee members will meet again this month to begin reducing the pools of applicants to smaller groups for further review and evaluation. We remain on target for wide-ranging finalist interviews, involving all members of the TCNJ community, in mid-to late February.

On behalf of the search committee members, we will share additional updates with you as we move ahead with our work. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. Thank you for your support and we wish you the best for this new year.

Sincerely,

Carole Kenner
Chair of the Dean of the School of Engineering Search Committee
Dean, School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science

Suzanne McCotter
Chair of the Dean of the School of Science Search Committee
Dean, School of Education

November 11, 2021 | From Carole Kenner and Suzanne McCotter, committee chairs for dean searches, to the campus community

Dear TCNJ Campus Community,

We are writing with an update regarding our shared efforts to identify the college’s next Dean of the School of Science and Dean of the School of Engineering.

We would like to thank all of you who participated in conversations with our consultants Julie Tea, Ruth Shoemaker Wood, and Julie Williams-Krishnan of Storbeck Search recently. Your thoughtful comments provided the basis for the creation of the search prospectus, a valuable tool that will be used to solicit nominations and recruit candidates nationally. We invite you to review the finalized copy of the Dean of the School of Engineering prospectus (here) and the Dean of the School of Science prospectus (here) and to share them widely among your networks.

As you review the search prospectus for each position, please pay particular attention to the attributes most highly desired in our new Deans. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively in these critically important positions, or those you think might know of potential candidates. Please forward their names to Julie Tea, Ruth Shoemaker Wood, and Julie Williams-Krishnan at TCNJEngineeringDean@storbecksearch.com or TCNJScienceDean@storbecksearch.com.

Our committees are well aware that the success of our searches depends on the involvement of all members of the TCNJ community. Please rest assured that names and information will be treated with full confidentiality.

Over the next several weeks, we will generate national candidate pools through nominations received from you and others, inquiries at other colleges and universities similar to TCNJ in scope and mission, advertising in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed and on a number of other relevant websites, and the work of our search firm. In late January the search committees will begin to narrow the candidate pools.

The searches are off to a great start. We will write to you again as we enter subsequent stages of the process; you can also stay up-to-date on both searches by visiting this web page.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Carole Kenner
Chair of the Dean of the School of Engineering Search Committee
Dean, School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science

Suzanne McCotter
Chair of the Dean of the School of Science Search Committee
Dean, School of Education

September 16, 2021 | From Jeffrey M. Osborn, provost and vice president for academic affairs, to the academic affairs division

In Fall 2021, we will begin national searches for deans of the School of Engineering and the School of Science. We are excited by the parallel timing and coordination of these two searches, which will provide the opportunity to realize many synergies and to further diversify and expand the applicant pools of each search.

Search Committee Membership

  • Carole Kenner, Dean of the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science, and Search Committee Chair
  • Ambrose Adegbege, Associate Professor (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Andrew Bechtel, Associate Professor and Chair (Civil Engineering)
  • Alan Burke, Major Gift Officer for the School of Engineering (Office of Development and Alumni Engagement)
  • Lisa Grega, Professor (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Connie Hall, Professor (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Tanner Huffman, Assistant Professor (Integrative STEM Education)
  • Eugene Kim ’22, Biomedical Engineering student
  • Martha Stella, Assistant Dean (School of Engineering)
  • Joan Russell, Assistant to the Dean of the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science, and Staff Support to the Search Committee
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