University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Head, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

IL, Champaign

The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks a highly accomplished scholar and strategic leader as the next Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois (CEE at Illinois) is consistently ranked among the top undergraduate and graduate programs of its kind in the world. CEE at Illinois offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels and is engaged in innovative education and cutting-edge research programs covering all the major technical specializations of the field. The Department is also a leader in interdisciplinary programs including Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems, Energy-Water- Environment Sustainability, and Societal Risk and Hazard Mitigation. CEE at Illinois currently consists of 53 faculty members, 58 staff members, 670 undergraduate students, over 400 on- campus master’s students, and over 240 doctoral students.

CEE at Illinois offers world-class research facilities and centers including the Newmark Structural Engineering Laboratory, the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL), the Environmental Engineering and Science Laboratories, the Ecohydraulics and Ecomorphodynamics Laboratories, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC), and the Research and Innovation Lab  (RAIL). In addition, the Department houses the National Science Foundation (NSF) Critical Zone Observatory for Intensively Managed Landscapes (IML-CZO), the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) and leads the University’s Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (STII) and the National University Rail (NURail) Center. The Department’s teaching facilities feature the Yeh Student Center, which includes state-of-the-art classrooms equipped for both resident and on-line instruction. Construction is underway expanding and renovating the Hydrosystems Laboratory (completion in 2020) that includes hands-on instructional laboratories, collaborative meeting facilities, and new classroom space for CEE students, along with an instrumented Smart Bridge with geothermal energy piles connecting the Hydrosystems Lab and the Newmark Lab.

The Department Head is a tenured, full Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering reporting to the Dean of the Grainger College of Engineering. Applicants must possess an earned doctorate in a relevant field, as well as demonstrate a scholarly record commensurate with tenured full faculty status in the Grainger College of Engineering, a renowned reputation in research, and successful academic leadership experience. The position has responsibilities to lead and support the faculty in development of research, teaching, and public service, as well as engaging with industry, foundations, public and private sector organizations, and alumni advancing the success and excellence of the Department. The position also has primary oversight for administrative, budgetary, and promotion decisions for the Department.

The successful candidate will:

  • Collaborate with faculty to develop and pursue a compelling vision for CEE at Illinois consistent with the Grainger College of Engineering and University strategic directions;
  • attract, retain, and support the success of high-caliber faculty and encourage and enrich their excellence in scholarship and education;
  • leverage CEE faculty and facility strengths with other campus departments and colleges, as well as other universities and research organizations;
  • sustain and inspire our tradition of collegial excellence developing solutions to critical societal challenges through cutting-edge basic and applied research;
  • maintain and enhance our international leadership in innovative undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring;
  • demonstrate leadership in collegiality, fairness, and diversity, and work with faculty and staff creating and promoting these values throughout the Department;
  • promote an engaging and supportive environment for tenure system and specialized faculty members, grounded in effective mentoring and academic and professional development;
  • leverage existing, and foster new, long-term relationships with industry and other private and public sector organizations to maintain CEE at Illinois as a leader in cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial partnerships;
  • pursue a culture of engagement with our 13,000 active alumni with the Department promoting and celebrating graduates who have positively influenced society and engineering practice, and provide leadership for governmental and professional organizations;
  • direct the Department’s advancement campaign and establish strategic engagement and partnerships with foundations and private institutions that share the Department’s passion and vision of excellence;
  • perform other duties as needed to further the mission of the Department.

The Head position is an administrative appointment accompanied by a 100% tenured faculty appointment with full University benefits. The successful candidate will also be eligible for an endowed appointment. The preferred start date for this position is by summer 2020. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by December 2, 2019, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience.

The University has retained WittKieffer, a national executive search firm, to assist in this recruitment. Nominations and applications, including a cover letter articulating a vision for this position and a statement on commitment to diversity, together with a curriculum vita, and the names/contact information for three references, should be submitted electronically to WittKieffer consultants John K. Thornburgh and Suzanne Teer at the email address The consultants can be reached by telephone, care of Candice Jones at 630-575-6929. The statement on diversity should address past and/or potential contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion through research, teaching, and/or service.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit