Harriet Nembhard named new UI dean of College of Engineering


Harriet B. Nembhard, Courtesy Penn State University

Charles Peckman, Senior Reporter

Come June 2020, Harriet Nembhard will trade in the black and orange of Oregon State University for black and gold as the new dean of the University of Iowa College of Engineering. Currently, Nembhard serves as the OSU Eric R. Smith Professor of Engineering and head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

When Nembhard assumes her position at the UI on June 29, she will help oversee the UI’s $50 million in annual research expenditures as well as the six departments within the College of Engineering. Nembhard has served the Oregon State community since 2016.

Nembhard will succeed current UI College of Engineering Dean Alec Scranton, who announced in January 2019 that he would step down in June 2020. Montserrat Fuentes, executive vice president and provost, said she is looking forward to the addition of Nembhard to the UI community.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome Harriet to our campus and I look forward to working with her,” Fuentes said in a statement. “She has demonstrated tremendous talent as a very accomplished leader and I am confident she will enhance our research and training and build upon the successes of the College of Engineering.”

Before arriving at Oregon State, Nembhard was a professor at Penn State, in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; she also served as interim head of the department in 2015. Nembhard was one of four finalists invited to the UI campus in October and November to interview for the position.

To Nembhard, “it is imperative” at this moment in the engineering field to accelerate the work and build a more inclusive atmosphere. At Oregon State, she has been active in university-level strategic planning and efforts to advance inclusivity and student success.

“I believe the north star for the discipline of engineering is to continually seek creative solutions to elevate humanity and address the needs of our society,” Nembhard said in a statement. “The college has made tremendous strides over the decade of Dean Scranton’s service to do precisely this. I am looking forward to working with faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders to make the college even greater.”