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November 6, 2018

To the faculty, staff, students, and friends of the College of Engineering,

With just two months remaining before Tim Anderson steps down as Dean, it seemed fitting to prepare this tribute to all he has accomplished in bringing the College of Engineering to where it is today, a beacon of excellence and a source of pride to all of us at UMass Amherst.

Tim joined the University in 2013 as dean and distinguished professor. In the five years that Tim has been dean, the College of Engineering has realized strategic growth in faculty, students, and programs. He has attracted an excellent and diverse faculty. Tenure-track faculty numbers have increased by 12.5% under his leadership. Undergraduate enrollment increased by 23%, graduate enrollment grew by 4% at the master’s level and 27% at the doctoral level – an important contributor to the College’s stature in research.

The diversity of the faculty and students in the college has also increased. In 2013, among full-time faculty 21% were persons of color and 13% were female. Today, those numbers are 29% and 16%, respectively.  This increase in diversity is also reflected in the Engineering student population. Today, 29% of undergraduate students are from minority groups and 20% are female. For master’s students, 20% are minority and 25% are female, and doctoral students are 37% minority and 29% female.

Tim’s inclusive leadership style has helped to foster a positive culture of diversity and inclusion in the College. By creating a diversity program office with full-time staff positions and faculty advisors dedicated to supporting under-represented minorities and women, Tim has institutionalized the College’s commitment to increasing diversity and student success.  Indeed, the College prominently recognizes this ethos on their website: “As a public land-grant institution, we have the responsibility to provide access and opportunities to all people, while demonstrating our commitment to inclusion of historically underrepresented groups.” 

Fundraising has also been an area where Tim’s leadership has been instrumental. The College of Engineering raised $34.5M in the UMass Rising campaign, thereby beating its $33M goal. Tim was instrumental in the creation of the Armstrong/Siadat Professorship in Materials Science and the Renewable Energy Chair, and he made significant headway on additional endowments for the College. With 120 first-rate tenure-track faculty members, the College has received hundreds of grants and awards from leading national and professional funding agencies. 

It is not surprising that the U.S. News and World Report ranking has also steadily increased during Tim’s tenure. The College’s undergraduate rank is No. 59 overall and No. 33 among public universities, and graduate programs are No. 65 overall and No. 37 among public universities.

Tim’s collegial style of leadership created a collaborative culture in the College. Through such collaboration on larger projects, the University recently received 3 prestigious planning grants from the National Science Foundation for center-scale proposals. His encouragement of cross departmental research was clearly demonstrated by the establishment of a strong partnership with the Institute for Applied Life Sciences. This partnership has led to multiple joint hires, new facilities, and increased collaboration with other colleges on campus and the UMass Medical School. Extramural research has reached $31.5 million in expenditures in a total budget of $58.9 million.

The establishment of the Department of Biomedical Engineering is likely to be his longest-lasting contribution. With the purpose of improving human health and solving problems in healthcare delivery, Biomedical Engineering is the integration of engineering science, biology, and medicine. Tim’s vision was instrumental in the creation of this dynamic department, as well as the creation of its B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degree programs.  The department’s purpose resonates with the core of our campus mission: "to conduct programs of research and public service that advance knowledge and improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world."

In Tim’s note informing the faculty and staff that he would be stepping down, he said: “I have always believed we are in the business of making people better.” That has been his guiding principle and accomplishment throughout his leadership.

Tim, thank you for your commitment and contributions to the College of Engineering and to the University as a whole. The opportunity to be your colleague has been a privilege. You will be sorely missed as Dean, but we are pleased to welcome you back to the faculty.

John McCarthy
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs