University of Missouri System President Mun Choi today announced the appointment of Dr. Mohammad Dehghani, vice provost for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, as the next chancellor of Missouri University of Science and Technology. He will begin serving as chancellor on Aug. 1, 2019.
In an internal announcement, Choi noted that Dehghani is a mechanical engineer with a track record of building faculty research teams in collaboration with national laboratories and industry. Dehghani’s appointment followed an extensive national search to identify the next leader of S&T, a technological research university that was established in 1870.
“It is with great excitement that I announce Mohammad Dehghani will serve as the 22nd leader of Missouri University of Science and Technology,” Choi said. “Mohammad is a nationally prominent research and academic leader who has experience leading complex organizations by leading with vision and building collaborative teams.
“From his current role at the distinguished Stevens Institute of Technology to his experience establishing two national research centers at Johns Hopkins University, it’s clear to me that he has the skills and expertise to help Missouri S&T reach its ambitious goals to solve some of Missouri’s — and the nation’s — most complex and urgent problems.”
Dehghani’s appointment was approved by the University of Missouri Board of Curators on Wednesday, May 15.
“Missouri S&T plays a vital role in the state, educating some of Missouri’s brightest and most innovative students,” said Jon Sundvold, chair of the Board of Curators. “As a seasoned leader with experience in formulating multidisciplinary teams and getting results, Dr. Dehghani is the right leader to usher in S&T’s next exciting chapter.”
Since August, a committee of 23 individuals with representatives from S&T faculty, staff, students and alumni helped to guide the search process.
“I thank Professor Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe and alumnus and trustee Tom Voss for serving as co-chairs of the search committee,” Choi said. “Thanks also to other members of the committee for their important work in reviewing a diverse pool of applicants and recommending the high-caliber finalists.”
For the past 22 years, Dehghani has served in executive positions at nationally prominent universities and national labs. In addition to his role at Stevens, which he has held since 2013, Dehghani was a professor of mechanical engineering and founding director of the Johns Hopkins University Systems Institute. Through that institute, he established collaborative research and application programs with many organizations, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Health and Human Services, with internal divisions at Hopkins including Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Whiting School of Engineering and the Applied Physics Laboratory.
Prior to joining Hopkins in 2008, Dehghani served as the New Technologies Division leader at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a $1.8 billion, 7,000-employee multidisciplinary applied science and engineering national security laboratory with programs in advanced defense technologies, energy, environment, biosciences and basic sciences. At Lawrence Livermore, Dehghani helped develop technologies and expand many areas of engineering, including biomedical engineering, nuclear engineering, process systems and the traditional engineering disciplines of mechanical engineering, electronics, fluidics, and multi-scale modeling and simulations.
He also spent a dozen years as a tenured faculty member of the mechanical engineering department at Ohio University in Athens. Additionally, Dehghani has private industry experience.
“I consider the opportunity of serving Missouri S&T as its chancellor a personal and professional honor as I recognize the recent and historic achievements of this great institution,” Dehghani said. “Missouri S&T is at an exciting point in its evolution to enhance its national standing and achieve further prominence among top public, land-grant research universities.”
The university in Rolla has been led by Interim Chancellor Christopher Maples since May 2017.
“I also want to share my appreciation for Dr. Christopher Maples, who has made important contributions to Missouri S&T,” Choi said. “He will continue in his role as interim chancellor until Dr. Dehghani arrives in August.”
Dehghani earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University. He completed a postdoctoral National Science Foundation internship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In his letter of interest for the position, Dehghani said that his general management philosophy includes being transparent, telling “truth to power,” and leading by consensus while striving to ensure that everyone is heard and understood.
Dehghani, a pilot who enjoys flying and fly fishing, is married to Mina (Saffari) Dehghani, a pharmacist. They have one son, Devon.
Dr. Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe, search committee co-chair and Missouri S&T professor of geology and geophysics
“Dr. Dehghani is a proven academic leader with an impressive research record. He is known as a collaborative leader who emphasizes the importance of bringing people from diverse groups together for a common purpose. I look forward to working with Dr. Dehghani at Missouri S&T.”
Thomas R. Voss, search committee co-chair, retired president and CEO of Ameren, executive chairman of Smart Wires, and Missouri S&T alumnus
“I am very impressed with Dr. Dehghani’s experience and background, both in the academic world and at one of our nation’s top research labs. He brings a wealth of research expertise to this position, as well as a strong passion for educational excellence. I believe that under his leadership, Missouri S&T will continue to thrive as one of the nation’s leading STEM-focused research universities.”
Dr. Christophe Pierre, provost, Stevens Institute of Technology
“Mo Dehghani has been an effective champion, advocate and leader for our research enterprise during his tenure at Stevens. As provost, I have relied on his expertise and counsel as we execute our strategic plan and continue to build our research and innovation activities. Undoubtedly, Mo’s new opportunity at Missouri S&T is a loss for Stevens, but we wish him the very best.”
Dr. Matthew Libera, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, Stevens Institute of Technology
“I worked very closely with Mo Dehghani during his entire tenure at Stevens. His impact has been significant. He elevated the overall research enterprise and, more importantly, cultivated an environment across all disciplines at Stevens to promote research excellence at all levels. His tenure at Stevens had a transformative impact on externally funded research efforts and on research execution. He will be hard to replace. Missouri S&T is getting a creative and effective leader with tremendous experience and perspective centered around science and technology.”
Beth McGrath, vice president for government and community relations/chief of staff, Stevens Institute of Technology
“Mo Dehghani has been a terrific colleague who has built strong relationships with faculty and members of the administration to strengthen the culture of research, innovation, and entrepreneurship at Stevens. He has played a pivotal role in advancing Stevens’ interests with external research and funding agencies and with other key constituencies. His experience at Stevens as Vice Provost and his prior roles at Johns Hopkins and the Applied Physics Laboratory put him in an excellent position to have a transformational impact at Missouri S&T.”
Dr. Yehia Massoud, dean of the school of systems and enterprises, Stevens Institute of Technology
“Mo Dehghani is one of the most inspiring and visionary leaders I have had the pleasure to work with in academia, the industry and the government. He has had tremendous success leading the research and entrepreneurship enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology to new heights. For someone with such an impeccable record of leadership and achievement, he is very thoughtful and collaborative, and is inclusive of all constituencies. I am extremely confident that S&T will achieve major success under his leadership. I would like to congratulate the faculty, staff, students and alumni of S&T for getting Dr. Dehghani as their next chancellor.”
Dr. Spiros Dimolitsas, senior vice president for research and chief technology officer, Georgetown University
“Mo Deghani is an exceptional individual and a brilliant engineer who brings a wide range of experiences that will be invaluable in his new role. His tenure at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory features important accomplishments, while his service at Stevens Institute of Technology allowed him to funnel his energy toward the betterment of that institution.”
As an Alumni of the Missouri S&T University, I welcome Dr. Mo Deghani to the MIT of the Midwest and wish him and the institute more success.
As someone that has been hiring from this University in the past and someone that graduated from Rolla, I’m a bit concerned about some of the wording in this announcement. It seems that S&T is trying to shift from being an institution that produces excellent undergraduate students to a research institute. While research has always been an important part of what makes this university so attractive to employers, I do hope that you do not lose focus the fact that the reason behind the success of your career fair and the investment from industry is not related to your research but to the quality of your teaching staff. They are the ones that turn out excellent students, and more research may help with that but if it starts to replace it you will fall into a basket of other schools that, at least within the organization’s I have worked for, would be less interested in hiring from as we do not need more master’s and doctorate’s but skilled, ready to go undergraduate engineers.
The five year plan for the university is to double the amount of funded research. That would still be half of Iowa State’s Engineering research, for a similar sized engineering school. It will be far from MIT or Cal Tech. It will remain a predominately Undergraduate Engineering University, but with a strengthened graduate and research program. I support it.
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