Distinguished Academic Leader to Serve as WPI’s Inaugural Dean of Engineering

Selçuk I. Güçeri, Prominent National Leader in Engineering Education and Research, Moves to WPI from Drexel University after 10 Years Service as Dean of Engineering
Media Contact
September 28, 2010

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has announced that Selçuk I. Güçeri, PhD, will join the university as its inaugural Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering. 

For the past 10 years, Dr. Güçeri served as dean of engineering at Drexel University, leading the nation’s largest engineering college among private universities. Under his leadership, Drexel engineering nearly tripled its research funding, significantly increased the number of women faculty and students and the degree of student diversity, and fostered more than a dozen technology-based start-up companies. An accomplished scholar, Dr. Güçeri has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in the fields of manufacturing, materials mechanics, and software development. He will join WPI in early 2011.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Güçeri earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering at Middle East Technical University in Ankara and completed a PhD as a NATO Fellow at the North Carolina State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Before joining Drexel he was professor and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to that, he served on the mechanical engineering faculty at the University of Delaware.

WPI created the Gordon Deanship with an endowment gift from Bernard M. Gordon, founder of Analog Corporation and NeuroLogica Corporation, and a member of the WPI Board of Trustees. Gordon is known for his inventive mind, extraordinary record of technological leadership and business development, and passionate views on engineering education. 

“Bernie Gordon funded this position to enable WPI to provide leadership for our engineering programs in the spirit of purposeful achievement that has defined his career,” said WPI President Dennis Berkey. “Dean Güçeri is just such leader, with extensive achievements in important research, academic innovation, and entrepreneurship. He shares a deep commitment to WPI’s long tradition of producing engineering graduates well prepared to make important contributions to economic and technological development, and societal advancement. We are most fortunate to have attracted Dean Güçeri to WPI, and we are very grateful to Bernie Gordon for his vision and support for this leadership position.”

The appointment of the Gordon Dean of Engineering completes WPI’s plan to create and fill three inaugural academic deanships. Earlier this year Mark P. Rice, PhD, formerly dean of graduate business programs at Babson College, was appointed Dean of WPI’s new School of Business; and Karen Kashmanian Oates, PhD, formerly deputy for undergraduate education at the National Science Foundation and an experienced dean and provost, was named the Donald I. Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to leading their respective academic areas, the new deans will work together and with the faculty across the Institute to advance WPI’s distinctive undergraduate programs, with their emphasis on project-enriched collaborative learning. The deans will also work to advance research and graduate education in such important fields as alternative energy, advanced materials, regenerative medicine, robotics, and information security, and novel developments across the disciplines. “We are a small enough university to be free of barriers among the disciplines, but large and complex enough to have the richness of resources and intellectual capacity to make substantial contributions to important problems,” said President Berkey. “The model here, of purposeful learning through collaborative inquiry, is really a new synthesis of what the best of higher education can be.”

WPI’s purposeful, collaborative culture was a large part of Dean Güçeri’s decision to join WPI. He cites WPI’s innovative interdisciplinary programs, which combine technology, science, business and the arts and humanities, as offering outstanding opportunities to produce the effective professionals needed to address such globally important issues as energy, healthcare, cyber security, and clean water. “The only way our society can effectively address such serious challenges is if the engineers we educate learn to work and collaborate with their colleagues in business, policy making, and other endeavors directly impacting our world,” said Dean Güçeri.

Eric W. Overström, WPI provost ad interim said, “Dean Güçeri is an accomplished leader and scholar with experience expanding research, developing innovative learning programs, recruiting and mentoring high-quality faculty and students, and growing undergraduate and graduate enrollment. He has led major efforts to develop programs that embrace cultural, social, and global perspectives – all major components of WPI's approach to education. He is an extraordinarily good fit for our goals and our culture.”