Dear Colleagues,
I am pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the Department Head search in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics (MEM).
Dr. Jonathan Spanier, interim Department Head of MEM, will join the leadership team officially as Department Head, effective February 15, 2020. He has served as interim since November 2018, and agreed last fall to continue in the role as the search continued. Dr. Spanier’s permanent appointment follows his clear and successful efforts in leading the department through a critical period, including our ABET accreditation visit and our college strategic planning process. Dr Spanier has done yeomen’s duty in stepping in to serve the needs of our MEM department over the past fifteen months as the interim Department Head. I am so pleased to have him transition into the official role and continue to address the needs of the students, faculty and staff such that we can meet our full educational and research potential.
Dr. Spanier is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering, with affiliated appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Physics (CoAS).
Upon accepting the position, Dr. Spanier noted, “I am grateful for the unwavering commitment to our students by my MEM colleagues and our professional staff. Inspired by the accomplishments of generations of MEM graduates and their ongoing support for the College, I welcome this opportunity to continue to work collaboratively and inclusively with our faculty, staff and students to advance the department.”
Prior to his interim role in MEM, Dr. Spanier held a variety of leadership roles, including service as Associate Dean in the college, where he led development of the CoE 2013-18 strategic plan. From 2011-17, he was Director of the University’s Centralized Research Facilities. He also served as interim Associate Department Head for MSE from 2006-08. Dr. Spanier has held research and technical staff positions at the US Naval Research Laboratory in physical acoustics and in the semiconductor industry. Dr. Spanier was a visiting scientist at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in 2001 and in 2014 served as Japan Trust International Research Cooperation Fellow at Fujitsu Laboratories. Dr. Spanier was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2016.

Please join me in thanking Department Head and LD Betz Professor of Environmental Engineering Chuck Haas for his leadership of the search, as well as committee members Drs. Young Cho, Matt McCarthy, Jennifer Atchison, Amy Throckmorton, Leo Han and Caroline Schauer, for their efforts to see this process through its conclusion. My thanks also go to the entire department for their engagement in this vital process.
Sharon L. Walker, PhD
Dean, College of Engineering