Nicholas P. Jones, a longtime Johns Hopkins University faculty member who now leads a major department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will return to Johns Hopkins next month as dean of the university's Whiting School of Engineering.
Jones, who will take office as the Whiting School's fourth dean on Aug. 15, was appointed by the university's board of trustees on the recommendation of President William R. Brody. He previously had been at Johns Hopkins from1986 to 2002, rising through the ranks from assistant professor to professor and then chair of the Department of Civil Engineering.
"Nick brings to the deanship a rare combination of intimate familiarity with Johns Hopkins and high-level experience at a very different kind of institution," Brody said. "His stellar record in both contexts shows him to be a remarkably agile and creative leader. And I am particularly encouraged by the role that collaboration and interdepartmental bridge-building played in his approach to his job at Illinois."
Jones has spent the past two years as head of Illinois' Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, one of the nation's largest and most distinguished departments in those fields.
"I've really been fortunate in my career to have my first 16 wonderful years at Hopkins and then to have had this wonderful opportunity to lead a great department at Illinois," he said. "I'm honored and excited to have the invitation to return to Hopkins. There are not many places I would leave Illinois for, but Johns Hopkins is certainly one of them."
Jones said his goal is to continue the Whiting School along a path toward recognition as one of the leading schools of engineering in the country. One important focus, he said, will be the undergraduate experience. He said he wants to work to develop a "Johns Hopkins signature" undergraduate engineering education of unprecedented breadth "for the future leaders of the engineering profession."
Jones also wants to broaden collaborations with other Johns Hopkins divisions, and with industry and business.
"The Baltimore-Washington area and the Middle Atlantic region in general offer a wealth of opportunity for engagement of industry with Whiting School programs," he said. "We're doing a great deal already with education in our part-time engineering programs, and we need to build on that success ... expand beyond instruction and forge more relationships and partnerships in research as well."
While he was at Johns Hopkins, Jones' primary research focus was on wind engineering and long-span bridges. Working at times with colleagues from the university's schools of Public Health and Medicine, he also investigated injuries caused by earthquakes and hurricanes and devised a way to measure the impact on boxers of blows to the head.
Jones, a native of New Zealand, graduated from the University of Auckland in 1980. He came then to the United States, where he earned master's and doctoral degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1981 and 1986. At Johns Hopkins, he won major teaching awards in 1987, 1991 and 2001. He was the 1988 Maryland Young Engineer of the Year; in 1989, the National Science Foundation named him a presidential young investigator.
Jones succeeds Ilene Busch-Vishniac, who stepped down as dean in 2003 to assume her faculty position in mechanical engineering. Andrew Douglas has served as interim dean.
Note: Photographs of Nicholas Jones are available. Contact Dennis O'Shea.
Go to Headlines@HopkinsHome Page