Dean, Purdue Polytechnic Institute

West Lafayette, Indiana
commensurate with experience
Aug 04, 2021
Sep 03, 2021
Position Type
Chair / Dean
Contract Type
Organization Type

The University: 

Purdue University is seeking a dynamic leader to be Dean of the Polytechnic Institute. Founded in 1869 as a land-grant institution, Purdue has an enrollment of over 45,000 students on its West Lafayette campus. Long known for its excellence in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, Purdue is one of the nation’s leading public research institutions. Students can choose from 7,500 courses and hundreds of specializations within ten colleges. Purdue is a multi-campus system and has several regional campuses in addition to the West Lafayette campus. The 650-acre West Lafayette campus encompasses 165 principal buildings. Purdue has the 4th largest international student enrollments in the nation with students from over 130 countries and a diverse faculty hailing from over 80 nations.

The College: 

The Purdue Polytechnic Institute, one of the largest, most innovative and fastest-growing academic colleges at Purdue University, offers residential and online undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of STEM disciplines through a unique learning environment based on high-impact educational practices. The Polytechnic Institute has set enrollment records in each of the last four years, and now enrolls over 4,400 undergraduate students and nearly 1,000 graduate students. Faculty ranks have expanded commensurately, providing opportunities for further growth and innovation. The Polytechnic offers over 30 BS degree options and online certificates, and students can choose from curricula in six departments and schools, including Aviation & Transportation Technology, Computer & Information Technology, Computer Graphics Technology, Construction Management Technology, Engineering Technology, and Technology Leadership & Innovation. It is also home to the Division of Military Science and Technology which includes three Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs located on campus. The Polytechnic’s academic programs combine theory-based applied learning, team-based projects, integrated humanities studies, competency-based credentialing, and a series of experiential components such as industry-sponsored senior capstone projects, internships, global immersions, and certification-earning activities. The college has robust graduate programs offering MS and PhD degrees and online programs including graduate certificates, MS degrees, and a professional Doctorate of Technology. The Polytechnic learning experience embraces diversity, equity and inclusivity, and is designed to prepare graduates with not only deep technical knowledge and applied skills in their chosen discipline, but also the problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and leadership skills sought by industries and communities. Consistent with its home in an R1 university, Polytechnic faculty, staff, and students are engaged in research with three primary impact areas of focus: Future Work and Learning, Realizing the Digital Enterprise, and Holistic Safety and Security.

While Knoy Hall of Technology is the primary home for the Polytechnic, faculty and staff are actively involved in teaching and research in many other West Lafayette campus locations. These include but are not limited to Niswonger Aviation Technology at the Purdue University Airport, Young Hall, Heavilon Hall, Wetherill Hall, and Discovery Park. In 2019, the Purdue University Board of Trustees approved the “Engineering and Polytechnic Gateway” project, a major new facility for Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute and College of Engineering. The new 255,000 square foot complex will house instructional laboratories, faculty offices, design studios, and collaboration spaces. Consisting of two connected buildings, the complex will increase both the quality and quantity of instructional lab space, provide more dedicated space for active learning and lab-centric instructional methods, and bring together labs that are currently geographically separated. The complex is expected to open for instructional use in January 2023.

Unique to the Polytechnic, the Statewide Technology program is located in nine communities across Indiana and is an innovative partnership between education, industry, and government. The Statewide campus locations provide access to Purdue Polytechnic degree programs, associate degrees, and certification programs within these communities. The Polytechnic Statewide Technology system is a direct academic and administrative extension of the West Lafayette campus.

In 2017, the Polytechnic expanded its reach into secondary education. Founded by Purdue University and the City of Indianapolis in partnership with community, industry and academic leaders, Purdue Polytechnic High School prepares students to succeed in technical, STEM-related post-secondary programs and high-tech careers. The initiative has grown to include three distinct high schools in two cities, Indianapolis and South Bend, with future expansion to other Indiana cities in the planning stage. Purdue Polytechnic High School inspires students to pursue their passion through the lens of STEM, hands-on and project-based learning, industry partnerships and a flexible, personalized learning environment. Students are engaged, immersed, and in charge of their learning, leaving high school with college credit and in-demand industry credentials as well as preferred admission to Purdue Polytechnic Institute. The first Purdue Polytechnic High School just graduated its first senior class, with 40 students accepting their admission to Purdue University. Nearly half of those students are traditionally underrepresented minority students.

The new dean will be part of an exciting Purdue leadership team, reporting directly to the Provost.  The dean, as the primary academic and administrative officer of the Polytechnic Institute, will assume a central role in leading Purdue to the next level of preeminence. The successful candidate will be a creative and innovative leader, visionary, and motivator, able to connect with and inspire excellence and impact across all departments and units in the college.

Responsibilities of the Dean:

  • Creatively harness and amplify the energy, innovation, and continued rapid growth of the college in learning, discovery, and engagement.
  • Lead the development of the future vision of the college to further advance renowned programs, both nationally and internationally.
  • Lead the development and implementation of an aggressive and ambitious strategic plan.
  • Develop and promote an environment for academic and inclusive excellence.
  • Be committed to teaching and learning, research, and engagement.
  • Cultivate and embrace a diverse community of faculty and student scholars who excel in their disciplines.
  • Promote and engage in partnerships with state, national, and global constituencies to develop fruitful collaborations in learning, discovery, and engagement.
  • Be an effective fundraiser who can secure flexible support for the college.
  • Establish strong relationships with other colleges at Purdue, industry, alumni, and other stakeholders.
  • Be an invested leader in the advocacy and improvement of the diversity, equity, and inclusion of students, faculty, and staff.


  • Earned doctorate required in engineering, technology, education, computing or related field.
  • Relevant experience or education in engineering, computing, or technology.
  • National leader with a distinguished record of accomplishments that merits appointment as a faculty member at the rank of Full Professor within at least one of the college’s departments/schools.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading a successful program of research.
  • Team-oriented leadership skills to build and motivate a highly effective team of people, and consistently seek university faculty and staff involvement in planning, budgeting, and management decisions.
  • Substantial relevant leadership, management, or administrative experience in higher education or a comparable industry experience.
  • Experience in strategic planning, assessment, and continuous quality improvement.
  • Track record of leading change, managing execution, achieving results, and continuously learning.

Application Procedure:  Qualified persons are requested to submit the following: a statement of interest in the position that expresses briefly their concept of a Polytechnic Institute within a comprehensive university; curriculum vitae; and the names and contact information of five references. Initial nominations and inquiries will be kept confidential; references will be contacted only upon approval by the applicant. A background check is required for employment in this position.

Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute is committed to advancing diversity in all areas of faculty effort, including scholarship, instruction, and engagement. Candidates should address at least one of these areas in a separate Diversity and Inclusion Statement, indicating their past experiences, current interests or activities, and/or future goals to promote a climate that values diversity and inclusion. Purdue is an ADVANCE institution:

Applications, nominations, and inquiries should be addressed to: Dr. Karen Plaut, Chair, Purdue Polytechnic Dean Search Committee, Purdue University. Applications must be submitted electronically via this site -

The search committee will begin review of applications on September 6, 2021 and will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Questions regarding the position may be addressed to Dr. Karen Plaut at (765) 494-8391 (     

Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.