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Department Chair for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

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Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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Job Details

Job location: Charlottesville, VA

Employment Type: Full-time
Posted data: 2022-01-23
Req: R0030408

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) within the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia invites applications for the position of Department Chair to begin in August 2022. The department has a history of bringing innovative and accomplished scholars from the broader Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering community to expand the impact of our research and educational programs. We seek a world-class scholar whose background allows them to be appointed at the rank of full professor, and a visionary and collaborative leader to lead the next phase of our growth.

The new Department Chair will lead the Department’s initiatives in strategic planning, faculty and staff development; and attracting and recruiting both internationally-renowned senior faculty and the next generation of department, school, and university faculty leaders. The Chair manages the Department’s budget and interfaces with School and University leadership with integrity and transparency.

Candidates must have a PhD in a Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering or closely related field.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of Virginia is a thriving program of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty with a commitment to exploration, innovation, and engineering excellence. MAE’s focus on these three commitments has led to many international and national awards, scholarships and fellowships along with prestigious accolades and new research centers.

The department currently boasts 29 primary faculty members and nine courtesy appointments serving ~140 graduate students and ~360 undergraduate students (2nd-4th years). The department offers ABET-accredited B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and in Aerospace Engineering, and offers M.E., M.S., and PhD degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The department consistently performs well in national rankings, particularly given its size. U.S. News and World Report ranks the department #25 in Aerospace Engineering and #12 in Online Mechanical Engineering. Research strengths in the department include pillars in Cyber Physical Systems and Autonomy, Biomechanical Engineering for Health, and Sustainability in Engineering, Manufacturing, and Transportation, with several programs spanning and connecting multiple pillars. In FY2021, the department had over $11M in research expenditures and over $78M in research proposals. Highlights of the department’s current program strengths include:

  • Aerospace Engineering - Aerospace Research Laboratory, the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Center for Advanced Propulsion, and key projects in hypersonics, combustion and wind energy.
  • Mechanical Engineering - Center for Applied Biomechanics (world leaders in auto safety engineering with $5 million in annual research), the Rotating Machinery and Controls Industrial Program (more than 40 member companies), a $7.8 million MURI in bio-propulsion, and award-winning nano-scale research.

    The department is committed to creating and benefiting from an environment where a diverse group of capable, inspired individuals interact and collaborate to learn and advance knowledge without barriers. This commitment is reflected in a 450% increase in underrepresented graduate students, including women since 2015. More recent efforts are documented in the department's Diversity, Respect, Inclusion, Vision and Equity (DRIVE) initiative. Details can be found at:

    The University of Virginia is annually ranked as one of the premier public institutions in the United States and is located in Charlottesville, a picturesque and vibrant small city perennially ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S. More information about town, the school, faculty benefits and other topics can be found at

    UVA assists faculty spouses and partners seeking employment in the Charlottesville area. To learn more please visit .

    **Please apply online at** and attach the following documents:

    1. a CV to include contact information for three references;

    2. an overview of major research contributions and future research plans;

    3. a teaching statement;

    4. a statement describing your work related to diversity, equity and inclusion and working with diverse populations;

    5. a cover letter describing your leadership philosophy and vision for the UVA Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department..

The University will perform background checks on all new hires prior to employment. This position will also require an Education Verification (FSAKA).

Review of candidates will begin on December 17, 2021 and will continue until filled.

For questions regarding the position, please contact Brian Smith, Search Committee Chair, at

For questions about the application process, please contact Rich Haverstrom, Faculty Search Advisor, at

With one of the highest graduation rates of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups and one of the highest percentages of women engineering students among public universities, the Department and the University of Virginia are fundamentally committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty and staff. UVA is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. We welcome nominations of and applications from women, members of minoritized groups, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. We also welcome others who would bring additional dimensions of diversity to the university's research and teaching mission. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspective and lived experiences.

COVID Vaccination Requirement and Guidelines

Please visit the UVA COVID-19 Job Requirements and Guidelines webpage prior to applying for current information regarding vaccination requirements and guidelines for employment at UVA.

The University of Virginia, including the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.


In 1819, the University of Virginia established a new model for intellectual exchange and cross-disciplinary collaboration in higher education. Two hundred years later, as a major research institution, we continue to challenge conventions, lead with ingenuity and advance knowledge for the common good.

What began as an innovative idea has become one of the nation’s leading public research universities, with over 21,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UVA also has over 3,000 full-time faculty offering more than 400 degrees.

Each of the University’s eleven schools has its own distinctive mission, working together to garner consistently high rankings—including #2 Best Value Public College (Princeton Review, 2016), #3 Public University in the Nation (U.S. News & World Report, 2016), and #3 Best Value Among Public Colleges (Kiplinger’s, 2016).  

As we invest in and strengthen our research capabilities, UVA seeks new faculty ready to uncover new insights, rewrite old rules and collaborate on intellectual discoveries.


As an R1 institution, the University’s research centers, consortia and laboratories are on the leading edge of discovery and technology, offering collaborative spaces for students and faculty to solve global problems.

Our professors are recognized members of major national scholarly and professional organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Our faculty’s engagement in interdisciplinary research is being facilitated by new research institutes specializing in everything from big data to brain functioning, and by cluster hires across schools.


UVA is also home to a nationally renowned academic medical center and the UVA Health System, which serves a three-part mission to treat patients, conduct translational research and train medical practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines.

Established as the nation’s 10th medical school in 1825, the institution has since grown to include a 612-bed hospital and a Level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers, a Children’s Hospital, and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia.

The UVA Medical Center is consistently ranked among the nation’s best hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report magazine and has been named among the top 25 percent in seven specialties.


The vast majority of UVA students come from the top 10% of their high school class, as well as from all 50 states, over 142 countries and a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Despite their diversity, all UVA students share a love of learning and a drive to achieve.

One of the reasons students choose Virginia is our unique residential culture. At UVA, the community of students, faculty and staff personifies the Jeffersonian idea that living and learning are connected. The Academical Village was constructed to support a unique residential experience, with faculty living in the Pavilions, students occupying Lawn rooms and the world-famous Rotunda at its heart. The University’s residential culture continues to support this experience today—strengthened by students, faculty and staff rich in backgrounds, ideas and perspectives. Our unique culture is also paying dividends in innovation:  UVA’s faculty have generated more than 130 patents since 2010.

Perhaps most importantly, faculty come to UVA knowing that instruction is as important as research, and they pride themselves on their many teaching awards.  Our best professors look for ways to encourage, mentor and develop tomorrow’s leaders inside and outside the classroom.


Living in Charlottesville you’ll find sophisticated restaurants, world-renowned wineries and breweries, cosmopolitan arts and music, friendly urban and suburban neighborhoods and a Piedmont landscape that has lured adventurous souls for centuries.  No wonder the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research named Charlottesville the “happiest city in America” in 2014.

In addition to UVA and its health system, several major employers have facilities in Charlottesville, including State Farm, Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Department of Defense, GE and others.  Charlottesville is also becoming a center for innovative start-up businesses.  The University also actively helps spouses and partners of faculty members build their networks and pursue employment opportunities with a wide variety of area employers. 

The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to assist in their pursuit of employment at the University. This includes assistance in completing the online job application as well as reasonable accommodations during the interview process. Please contact the UHR Service Center: 434.982.0123 to request assistance.

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