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Department Head of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering – Tenure/Te...

Job Details

Apply nowJob no: 521724
Work type: Regular Full-time (Benefits eligible)
Location: Tuscaloosa
Categories: Tenure/Tenure-Track Faculty

214271 - Mechanical Engineering


Position Summary
The Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama invite applications for the position of Department Head of Mechanical Engineering with an anticipated start date of Fall 2024.

Detailed Position Information
The Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama invite applications for the position of Department Head of Mechanical Engineering with an anticipated start date of Fall 2024.

Candidates with prestigious achievements in their field and exceptional national and international reputations will be eligible for consideration for significant endowment support through appointment as an Endowed Shelby Distinguished Professor (

It is an exciting time to join the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Alabama. The ME department has seen tremendous growth in both undergraduate student enrollment and graduate program enrollment, research activity, and research awards over the last decade. The department currently enrolls more than fifteen hundred students, representing the largest department within the UA College of Engineering, and offers two undergraduate and two graduate degree programs (B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, B.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering). The department is currently on a multi-year effort to significantly expand its faculty size to help better serve its students and educational mission and to add both depth and breadth to the range of research activities represented across the department and its faculty. The department and its faculty and students are currently in the process of moving into their new departmental home in the UA South Engineering Research Center (SERC) in the heart of The University of Alabama campus and the UA engineering complex. This new home will provide brand new spaces, including a new central departmental administrative suite, that will allow the department and its programs to continue to thrive and grow while also providing a cohesive space to build community across the department amongst its faculty, staff, and students. The pace of growth and change in the department is both brisk and invigorating. The next Department Head for Mechanical Engineering will have a tremendous opportunity to help shape the future of the department and to work with the leadership of the College of Engineering to deploy the significant resources of the College and university toward the goal of making the department one of the preeminent mechanical engineering departments in the country.

It is also an exciting time to join the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama. Much like the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the College of Engineering has also seen explosive growth in its overall size, both in terms of student enrollment and faculty size, and its research intensity and productivity over more than the last decade. Under the leadership of its new Dean, Dr. Clifford L. Henderson, the College has embarked on an ambitious and transformative initiative entitled “Top-30 by ‘30”. The goals of this initiative center around the College continuing its meteoric rise to be a top-30 program in terms of impact in all aspects of its operations by 2030, including (1) the number of degrees produced at both the undergraduate and graduate level across its seven major departments and thirty different degree programs, (2) scholarly productivity in engineering and computer science, (3) research awards and expenditures to support its vibrant and quickly growing graduate education programs, (4) faculty size and the associated comprehensive range of fields and areas of expertise represented by the College, overall and within its respective departments, and (5) innovative and translational productivity of the College and its faculty and students in such forms as patents and startups. There are tremendous opportunities for the new Department Head of Mechanical Engineering to join in this visionary effort and lead the strategic growth and development of the department with the strong resources and leadership of the College of Engineering and The University of Alabama in support of their efforts.

The Department Head of Mechanical Engineering is the academic and administrative leader of the department. The expectation is that this individual will serve as Department Head for a minimum of 5 years. The Department Head is part of the College of Engineering (CoE) senior leadership team, serving as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College, and is directly supported by Associate Department Heads for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, who are also faculty members in the department, and a departmental staff person who serves as an Administrative Assistant to the Department Head. The Department Head we seek will have an exciting opportunity to play a central role in a dynamic and growing education and research enterprise.

Successful candidates will be expected to contribute to the life of the department, college, and university by research, teaching, and service contributions consistent with the department head responsibilities. Candidates who have an accomplished track record in research and graduate education are strongly encouraged to apply, as candidates are expected to have a desire to continue to set an example for the department and its faculty by continuing to advise both graduate and undergraduate research students and to pursue an extramurally funded research program. Since the Department Head will serve and be appointed also as a tenured faculty member, it is expected that they will maintain a high-quality, high-impact, sponsored research program, teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels both as permitted by their schedule and duties, and advise and mentor Ph.D. students. The Department Head will be expected to provide service to the department, university, and broader scholarly community, commensurate with rank and in accordance with applicable university policies.

Minimum Qualifications
Applicants must have an earned doctorate in Mechanical Engineering or a closely related field from an accredited institution. Applicants must have conducted prior research work and have a record of impactful scholarly publications in refereed and other professional journals and venues.

Preferred Qualifications
PhD in Mechanical Engineering from an accredited institution. Have 10+ years of experience as a tenure-track/tenured faculty member at a leading peer R1 institution. Have a demonstrated record of high-quality research and scholarly publications that is recognized nationally and/or internationally. Significant record of scholarship in an engineering department with undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Post-doctoral experience or other similar post-graduate experience. Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.

Instructions and Required Materials for Application
Required application documents include: (1) cover letter that includes both the department name and the title of the position for which the candidate is applying, (2) 2 to 5 page statement describing how the candidate’s experience positions them well to serve as the Department Head for Mechanical Engineering at The University of Alabama, (3) resume/curriculum vitae, (4) statement of research interests and plans, (5) one to two page statement of teaching interests, and (6) the names and contact information for at least four professional references.

Review of applications will begin immediately, and the search will continue until the position is filled. The University of Alabama is an Equal Employment/Equal Educational Opportunity Institution. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment.

About the College of Engineering
As the premier flagship university for the state of Alabama and as one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering instruction, The University of Alabama has more than 175 years of proud engineering history. UA’s College of Engineering is committed to conducting leading-edge basic research that advances the frontiers of science and engineering, translating fundamental advancements through applied research into impactful solutions for many of the challenges facing humankind, providing unparalleled educational experiences and opportunities for our students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, producing the next generations of engineering and computer science scholars and professionals who will positively shape the future around us, and providing service to our many professional disciplines and to the community, state, and nation to continue to advance our professions, the economy, and opportunities and lives of all those whom we impact.

The College of Engineering is comprised of seven departments: (1) Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, (2) Chemical and Biological Engineering, (3) Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, (4) Computer Science, (5) Electrical and Computer Engineering, (6) Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and (7) Mechanical Engineering. These seven departments deliver 15 different undergraduate degree programs and 16 different graduate degree programs. Overall the College enrolls approximately 6,000 students, making it one of the largest colleges out of the approximately 40,000 students on the UA campus.

While the university has been on a constant mission to advance in every aspect of its operations since its inception, The University of Alabama has in particular seen transformative growth in its research enterprise over the past decade. Since 2014, research activity as measured by yearly total research awards has more than tripled, growing by more than 330%. More recently, in June 2019 the UA Office for Research & Economic Development (ORED) launched its most recent five-year strategic plan. That plan for the 2019-2024 period – emanating from UA’s overarching goal to, “increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship, and creative activities that impact economic and societal development,” – focuses on six strategic themes: (1) Research Environment, (2) Alabama Research Institutes, (3) Transformative Initiatives, (4) Translating Intellectual Property, (5) Economic and Business Engagement, and (6) Assessing Progress and Impact. The overall goal of ORED’s strategic plan when initiated in 2019 was to help the University double its research enterprise in five years and position itself firmly as one of the premier comprehensive research institutions in the southeastern United States and the country as a whole. Through the efforts of the University, ORED, and in particular the departments, centers, and faculty of the College of Engineering, UA’s research enterprise has indeed surged dramatically higher in just the last four years. In the last four fiscal years alone (2019-2022), total sponsored awards across UA have increased by more than 80% and are well on track to more than double by the end of the strategic plan period in 2024. This growth rate strengthens UA’s position as one of the two fastest growing research institutions in the nation. For the College of Engineering specifically, total research awards have more than doubled in the last five years, growing by 250% in 2023 from their level in 2018.

This constantly increasing volume of research and the educational activities of the College of Engineering are supported by both a tremendous faculty and staff and by a set of outstanding facilities that are the envy of its peers. The College of Engineering currently has more than 170 faculty members, and is in a period of rapid faculty growth having added more than 20 faculty last year and with plans to add an additional approximately 30 faculty this year. In terms of facilities, the College of Engineering has one of the largest overall footprints of any college at UA, currently occupying all or significant portions of 15 different facilities across campus. Some of the most recent additions to that space are the state-of-the-art facilities provided for many of the departments in the College by the recently completed Shelby Science and Engineering Quad that was built at a cost approaching $400 million. In addition to the traditional engineering departments, there are more than 10 different major research centers housed within the College that span research areas ranging from cybersecurity to additive manufacturing to functional polymers to water to transportation to many more. These centers bring together faculty from across the College and from around the University to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing humankind and the planet today and well into tomorrow.

Overall, with its hundreds of award-winning faculty and staff members, its outstanding and growing student body, its tremendous array of state-of-the-art facilities, its diverse offerings of nationally accredited degree programs, and the strong support of its local, state, and national partners, the UA College of Engineering has positioned itself for continued success and rapid advancement as a leader in engineering science, education, and practice. The College is looking for new faculty who want to build or continue their career in a dynamic organization with unlimited potential.

About The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus.

A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. The University of Alabama has R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity status by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and is among the top doctoral research universities in the United States.

As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.

About Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa is so much more than a college town.

It's a vibrant community that’s filled with legendary history. Located along the Black Warrior River, the city features a walkable downtown that’s complete with live music, locally owned shops, outdoor spaces to explore and local restaurants to meet every palate. With a geography ranging from suburban to rural, the area offers a variety of housing options along with excellent public and private schools and a wealth of recreational and entertainment options.

With a metro area population of 235,000, the Druid City lies about an hour southwest of Birmingham, in west-central Alabama. It’s within a few hours’ drive of Gulf Coast beaches and major cities like Nashville, New Orleans and Atlanta, making it a great base for growing better acquainted with the South’s finest offerings.

Background Investigation and EEO Statement
Prior to hiring, the final candidate(s) must successfully pass a pre-employment background investigation and information obtained from social media and other internet sources. A prior conviction reported as a result of the background investigation DOES NOT automatically disqualify a candidate from consideration for this position. A candidate with a prior conviction or negative behavioral red flags will receive an individualized review of the prior conviction or negative behavioral red flags before a hiring decision is made.

The University of Alabama is an Equal Employment/Equal Educational Opportunity Institution. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, genetic information, disability or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against because of their protected status. Applicants to and employees of this institution are protected under Federal law from discrimination on several bases. Follow the link below to find out more. "EEO is the Law"

Advertised: 21 Dec 2023 Central Standard Time
Applications close: 31 May 2024 Central Daylight Time


The University of Alabama embodies an academic community that demands excellence in teaching, research and service and provides an inclusive, nurturing environment for the discovery of knowledge and the development of well-rounded leaders. Founded in 1831 as Alabama's first public college and known as the Capstone of Higher Education, UA provides a premier undergraduate and graduate education built upon global engagement, high-quality scholarship, outstanding teaching, and diversity and inclusivity throughout the community.

Our Mission

The University of Alabama will advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state, the nation and the world through the creation, translation and dissemination of knowledge with an emphasis on quality programs in the areas of teaching, research and service.

Our Vision

The University of Alabama will be known as the university of choice for the best and brightest students in Alabama, and all students who seek exceptional educational opportunities. The University of Alabama will be a student-centered research university and an academic community united in its commitment to enhance the quality of life for all Alabamians and the citizens of the nation and the world.

Our Core Values

The University of Alabama is committed to:

  • Undergraduate education that produces socially-conscious, ethical and well-rounded leaders who are grounded in their subject matter and capable of controlling their own destinies.
  • Graduate education that is deeply vested in subject matter knowledge, professional content, research skills and creative activity.
  • Public outreach and service that is held in the highest regard and fosters impactful public engagement to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Alabama, the nation and the world.
  • Campus life that embodies collaboration, collegiality, respect and a culture of inclusivity.

Our Strategic Goals

  • Provide a premier undergraduate and graduate education that offers a global perspective and is characterized by outstanding teaching, high-quality scholarship and distinctive curricular and co-curricular programs. Increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship and creative activities that impact economic and societal development.
  • Enrich our learning and work environment by providing an accepting, inclusive community that attracts and supports a diverse faculty, staff and student body.
  • Provide opportunities and resources that facilitate work-life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff.

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