Ilene Busch-Vishniac, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering, has announced she will step down at the end of her five-year term next year and assume her faculty position as professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Busch-Vishniac said one factor in her decision was the difficulty of serving simultaneously as dean and as president of the Acoustical Society of America, the major professional organization in her field. She has been elected president starting next year.
The dean also said she wants to spend more time with her family and that she looks forward to the opportunity to resume her research and teaching. She said she was announcing her June 30, 2003, departure now to allow time for a search and a smooth transition.
"I have reached the decision to step down only after a good deal of soul searching," Busch-Vishniac said in a message to the engineering faculty. "I have thoroughly enjoyed being dean of the Whiting School."
President William R. Brody said he accepted Busch-Vishniac's decision to step down with regret.
"Ilene has accomplished a great deal, and both the school and the university have benefited greatly from her leadership," Brody said. Busch-Vishniac led development of the Whiting School's new strategic plan and its implementation, he said.
"The school today is stronger, larger, more diverse and better supported than when she arrived," he said, pointing to a 40 percent growth in research funding, a significant increase in interdisciplinary research centers, enhancements in the undergraduate curriculum and a 20 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment.
Brody also cited the school's success in recruiting faculty; construction of Clark Hall, the new home of the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute; and establishment of the interdivisional Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute.
Busch-Vishniac said she had greatly enjoyed helping to increase the school's visibility within Johns Hopkins, in the national engineering community, with prospective students and faculty, and with business and industry.
But, she said, "by far the most pleasant part of this job is the interaction with the people who define the school--the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. It has been a great privilege."
Busch-Vishniac came to Johns Hopkins in 1998 from the University of Texas at Austin, where she had been on the faculty since 1982. She served there as associate chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and worked on research problems as diverse as the cost-effective design of highway noise barriers and applications for electromechanical transduction. Last year, she won the Silver Medal in Engineering Acoustics from the Acoustical Society of America, the society's highest award for technical merit, awarded no more than once every three years in each discipline area.
Brody said that he and Provost Steven Knapp will soon launch a national search for Busch-Vishniac's successor.