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The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University invites nominations and applications for the position of Louis M. Sardella Head of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE). This is an outstanding opportunity for an accomplished scholar with leadership experience, in collaboration with a growing faculty and an enterprising dean, to further strengthen an exceptional department at the nation’s first research university.  The best candidates will embody the intellectual distinction, entrepreneurial capacity, collaborative spirit, transparency, inclusiveness, and creativity that characterize the School’s culture, along with a scholarly record deserving appointment as an endowed and tenured full professor at The Johns Hopkins University. Serving a renewable five-year term, the Head will be appointed as a full-time tenured faculty member in MSE and will be encouraged to remain active in research, though strategic leadership of the Department will be their top priority.

The Department of Materials Science & Engineering, established in 1977, has grown to 14 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members, 5 full-time teaching and research faculty, as well as 39 faculty from other departments with joint appointments in MSE. Current enrollment comprises approximately 70 undergraduate and over 90 graduate students (MS and PhD).  MSE faculty are leaders in areas of research with an annual research budget of more than $35 million. MSE faculty are leaders in many of the university’s major cross-departmental research centers, and drive collaborative research with teams in engineering, chemistry, physics, medicine, and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), as well as numerous outside groups.  See additional information:

Whiting School Dean Ed Schlesinger is committed to providing the support that will enable MSE to substantially advance its mission. The appointment of a department Head constitutes a shared commitment between the Dean and the Head to establish the Head’s expanded scope of responsibility for vision and direction; for faculty, staff, and students; for financial resources and space; for research and scholarship; and for fundraising and alumni relations. The Dean expects to partner closely with the Head in advocating for the department, including substantial engagement in fundraising activities, which will be additionally supported by University expertise and resources.

The Dean sees the core opportunities for impact to include continued expansion of the breadth, depth, and intensity of research and teaching in the Department; recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty and students; increasing the diversity of faculty, students, and staff; broadening the Department’s engagement with industry as well as with other departments, centers, and institutes in the University; increasing gift and grant support; increasing translation of discoveries and new knowledge to benefit society; and ensuring that degree programs are in the forefront of their fields.

Each of the Department’s mission areas provide opportunities for strategic and operational impact:

  • Positioning the Department as the disciplinary and intellectual hub of materials research.
  • Continuing the expansion of MSE research program. 
  • Enhancing and expanding diversity and inclusion at all levels.
  • Expanding the depth, breadth, and impact of educational programs.
  • Fostering connections with industry to expand its base of resources and relationships. 



The new Head will be an entrepreneurial and proven leader who can inspire faculty, staff, and students in a shared governance environment. They will have the ability to establish and engage others in a compelling vision of MSE as a leading department in its field, as a hub for materials research, and as a site of innovation, teaching, and translation.  The Department Head will have a dossier that embodies a strong track record of scholarship and teaching; a passionate commitment to research, discovery, and application; and an interest in academic administration. They will have strong skills for mentoring junior faculty and will promote the interests of the entire department. Fundraising experience is preferred. 

Required educational background and qualifications:

  • An earned doctorate in materials science and engineering or related field and a scholarly record deserving appointment as tenured full professor at The Johns Hopkins University;
  • Recognized leadership in materials science and engineering with a distinguished national and international reputation for research and education;
  • Excellent communication skills in both internal and external interactions;
  • A strong commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels among faculty, students, and staff;
  • Leadership experience within a complex research environment or in national/international organizations connected to the field of materials science and engineering.


The Whiting School of Engineering and the Department of Materials Science & Engineering are committed to building a diverse educational environment, and women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. Johns Hopkins University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, other legally protected characteristics or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria. The University promotes Affirmative Action for minorities, women, individuals who are disabled, and veterans. Johns Hopkins University is a drug-free, smoke-free workplace.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest outlining their experience in and vision for research, education, and academic leadership; their CV; and a statement describing their contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Review of credentials will begin in December and will continue until the appointment is finalized. Every effort will be made to ensure candidate confidentiality.  


The Whiting School of Engineering has engaged Opus Partners ( to support the recruitment of the MSE Department Head. Please send application materials, nominations, and inquiries to  Nominations, recommendations, expressions of interest, and inquiries should go to the same address.

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