The University of Iowa elects a new Dean of Engineering for August

IOWA CITY — Six months after beginning a search to replace Harriet Nembhard as dean of its college of engineering, the University of Iowa announced Thursday that Ann F. McKenna — vice dean at Arizona State University — will take over the leadership of the more than 2,000 students will -student college August 16th.

McKenna has been at Arizona State University since 2010, where he has held various roles including Principal of the Polytechnic School, Interim Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, and Chair of the Faculty of Engineering. She is currently Vice Dean for Strategic Development at the Arizona State Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Professor of Engineering at the Polytechnic School.

As Dean of UI College of Engineering, McKenna will earn $375,000 annually. She succeeds Nembhard, who was named president of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California in December. Nembhard, who earns $360,600 at UI, will begin her new role on July 1 – three years after she joined the Iowa City campus in June 2020.

In Thursday’s hiring announcement, McKenna said she was honored to serve.

“It is clear that the University of Iowa is a special place that embodies the collaborative spirit and values ​​of working together across disciplines to develop innovative and impactful solutions to complex technological challenges,” McKenna said in a statement. “I am very excited to join such a talented and dedicated community to advance and grow the College of Engineering.”

McKenna was one of three Dean of Engineering finalists invited to visit UI in May.

The other two were:

Robert L. Bertini, professor and director of the School of Civil Construction Engineering at Oregon State University, who also directed two university national transportation research centers and has held academic positions at the University of South Florida, Portland State University and California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obíspo; And Tilman Wolf, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Deputy Chancellor for Spatial and Capital Planning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

More than 30 years ago, McKenna earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia and later earned his doctorate in engineering education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to Arizona State, McKenna served as program director at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, and as director of educational improvement at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering in Evanston, Illinois, where she was a postdoctoral researcher.

According to UI, McKenna’s research focused on “entrepreneurial thinking in the context of engineering faculty mentoring and curriculum innovation, design teaching and learning, and inclusivity in engineering structures, culture, and higher education policies.”

This is an evolving story. Check back for more updates.

Vanessa Miller reports on higher education for The Gazette.

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