Ian A. Waitz named MIT Dean of Engineering

February 01, 2011

To Members of the MIT Community,

Ian A. Waitz, the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been named the sixteenth Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT.  He will succeed Subra Suresh, Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at MIT and current director of the National Science Foundation.  Professor Waitz will assume his new responsibilities on February 7, 2011.

“Dean Waitz will continue to build on the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of MIT’s School of Engineering,” Provost L. Rafael Reif said.  “In the two decades since joining the MIT faculty, he has demonstrated his abilities as an innovative thinker, a gifted teacher, and an effective leader.  He brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm to this position, and I look forward to his leadership and to working closely with him to keep MIT at the forefront of engineering research and education."

Waitz, 47, is also the Director of the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER), an FAA, NASA, DOD, EPA, and Transport Canada-sponsored Center of Excellence with participants from a dozen universities and 50 industry and government organizations.  His principal areas of interest are the modeling and evaluation of climate, local air quality and noise impacts of aviation, including the assessment of technological, operational and policy options for mitigating these impacts.   He is best known for developing policy analysis tools that more explicitly incorporate estimates of environmental and economic impacts into decision-making, work for which he was recognized with the 2007 FAA Excellence in Aviation Research Award. 

"I am humbled by the incredible faculty, students, and staff in the School of Engineering.  It is truly an honor to serve as Dean” Waitz said.  “Many of the world’s greatest challenges will only be addressed by bringing together talented people in a challenging and rewarding environment to collaborate, advance our understanding, create solutions, and educate the next generation of engineering leaders.  It is exciting.  I look forward to contributing to this tradition of excellence within the School and the Institute.”

Waitz is also a dedicated educator who has been honored for excellence in undergraduate education through receipt of the MIT Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award in 2002 and through appointment as an MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2003.  He teaches subjects in the fields of thermodynamics and energy conversion, propulsion, and experimental projects.  Waitz received his B.S. in 1986 from the Pennsylvania State University, his M.S. in 1988 from George Washington University, and his Ph.D.in 1991 from the California Institute of Technology.

In announcing Waitz’s appointment, Reif thanked Ford Professor of Engineering Cynthia Barnhart, current interim dean of the School of Engineering, for her leadership.

“We are grateful to Professor Barnhart for her dedication and service as we have worked through recent transitions in the School of Engineering,” Reif said.  “As chair of the search committee for the previous dean, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs since 2007, and interim dean since the fall of 2010, she has provided the School with continuity and outstanding leadership — all while launching a new three-school transportation initiative and continuing to perform world-class research.”

Reif also expressed his gratitude to the search advisory committee, which was chaired by Jeffrey H. Shapiro, the Julius A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics.  Other members of the search committee included Olivier L. de Weck, professor of Engineering Systems and Aeronautics and Astronautics; Paula T. Hammond, Executive Officer and Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering; Anette E. Hosoi, professor of Mechanical Engineering; Ian H. Hutchinson, professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering; Tomas Lozano-Perez, School of Engineering Professor in Teaching Excellence, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Scott R. Manalis, professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering; Martin F. Polz, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Caroline A. Ross, Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Michael S. Triantafyllou, Associate Head for Ocean Engineering and William I. Koch Professor of Marine Technology, Mechanical Engineering; Sheila E. Widnall, Institute Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems; and Maria Zuber, Department Head and E. A. Griswold Professor, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

The MIT School of Engineering is home to nine academic units and a wide range of interdisciplinary research laboratories, centers and programs.  It is the largest of the Institute's five schools with 370 faculty members.  The approximately 4,700 students enrolled in engineering degree programs at MIT represent nearly 45 percent of the Institute's total enrollment.  The School of Engineering often ranks at the top among Engineering Schools, as do most of its departments.  MIT engineering alumni, nearly 70,000, hold prominent leadership positions in major industries in the U.S. and around the world.  In 2010, the School of Engineering faculty and staff attracted nearly $312,000,000 in research funding from federal agencies, industry, non-profits, state and local government, and internal sources. 

Sincerely,

L. Rafael Reif
Provost