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New leadership for Thayer

Joseph Helble is new Dean

Joseph J. Helble, former Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut (UConn), has been appointed the 12th dean of the Thayer School of Engineering. Helble will begin his new position in September.

Joseph Helble
Joseph J. Helble (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Dartmouth President James Wright said, "I am pleased to welcome Joe Helble to Dartmouth. His accomplishments as a scientist, teacher and administrator are very impressive, and I am struck by his enthusiasm to work with the faculty to make this strong program even stronger. This is an exciting time for the Thayer School."

Helble, a professor of chemical engineering and of environmental engineering, has pursued research in air pollution and nanotechnology. His interests focus on the fundamental and applied studies of aerosols and air quality. As

Chemical Engineering Department Head at UConn from 1999 until 2004, he increased enrollment in the Ph.D. program and overall selectivity of the graduate program. Helble also initiated an annual alumni fundraising program and successfully promoted the chemical engineering program among undergraduates, doubling participation in just five years. During the 2004-05 academic year, while holding a Revelle Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Helble is serving as an environmental science and technology policy advisor to Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT). 

"I'm honored and excited to join the Thayer School of Engineering," Helble said. "The Thayer School and Dartmouth are well known for their strong commitments to research and teaching. I am particularly impressed by the ability of the Thayer faculty to blend the two by incorporating the latest research, both from their labs and from the scientific community, into the classroom. I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty, students, staff and alumni and friends to ensure that our school remains a leader in educating the broadly trained engineers we need for the 21st century - engineers who can think, analyze, communicate and innovate."

Helble received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1982 from Lehigh University. He earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. He worked as a research scientist at Physical Sciences, Inc., and served as an Environmental Fellow with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), before turning to academia at UConn. There , he was an associate professor from 1995 until 2003, when he was promoted to professor.

Helble has also been honored with a National Science Foundation Career Award. He has served on numerous EPA Science Advisory Boards, and he sits on the editorial boards of Environmental Engineering Science and Fuel Processing Technology. He also holds five patents, all relating to a device that produces nanoscale ceramic powders. Helble has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies, participated in planning and organizing many professional conferences, delivered presentations and lectures worldwide and is an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Helble succeeds Lewis Duncan, who served as Dean for six years. During Duncan's tenure, research activity tripled with 67 awards totaling $16.8 million for fiscal year 2003. Also, Thayer's interdisciplinary focus was enhanced and broadened through strengthened relationships with partners across campus, including the Tuck School and Dartmouth Medical School. Duncan also worked to increase undergraduate students' exposure to and understanding of basic engineering and technology along with their social implications.

Founded in 1867, the Thayer School offered the nation's first professional engineering program designed to follow four years of undergraduate liberal arts education. Today, the school comprises both the undergraduate Department of Engineering Sciences and a professional school with degrees through the doctorate. Thayer integrates research, problem solving and design into its academic programs and offers unique multidisciplinary opportunities for students and faculty within a non-departmental structure. Named for Sylvanus Thayer, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1807 and from the United States Military Academy in 1808, the school still embraces his belief that engineers be educated in the liberal arts as well as the technical skills of their profession.


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Last Updated: 12/17/08