A panel of eight engineering faculty met yesterday to begin the process of selecting a new dean for the College of Engineering. John E. Hopcroft, Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering, will conclude his eight-year term on June 30.
University President Hunter R. Rawlings III offered Hopcroft a five-year term with a three-year renewal option. Hopcroft explained that he has not yet planned what direction his career will take.
“I’m just in the process of figuring out what I’m going to do,” Hopcroft said. “I have one year to finish what I started, and I’d like to leave the college in good shape.”
The dean was proud of his progress in setting intellectual direction and “improving the overall climate within the college.” Hopcroft added that he is also pleased with the progress of Duffield Hall, the new nanofabrication laboratory currently under construction on the Engineering quad.
Provost Biddy Martin, chair of the search committee, praised Hopcroft’s service to the Cornell community.
“Dean Hopcroft is a brilliant man whose ability to anticipate intellectual and scientific developments will continue to inform us all,” Martin said. “I have enjoyed working with him over the past several months and look forward to seeing where his research leads him next.”
She stressed that the search for Hopcroft’s replacement is a top priority for the administration due to the changing nature of research within the college.
“One of Cornell’s great strengths as a university is interdisciplinary research at the intersections of the biological and physical and engineering sciences. Work at these intersections will become increasingly important,” Martin said.
For this reason, she explained, “it is imperative that we find a dean who can collaborate with other college deans and the University administration in an effort to take advantage of Cornell’s comparative advantages in interdisciplinary science.”
At the organizational meeting yesterday the committee discussed whether or not to use a professional search firm for the task ahead, according to member Philip E. Lewis, Harold A. Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“We should reach a decision on that one week from now,” Lewis said.
He added that Maureen Updike, the administrative supporter of the search, will give the engineering faculty forms to make nominations. The committee plans to conduct telephone interviews of candidates in February and hold campus visits in March.
Lewis noted that the process corresponds to the dean search held last year to replace Daryl B. Lund, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Archived article by Ken Meyer