Tickle College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis to Retire

Tickle College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis

Wayne T. Davis, dean of the Tickle College of Engineering at UT, has announced his intent to retire early in the summer of 2018.

“Dean Davis has been an active and vital member of the university for decades, and his outstanding leadership has helped to bring the college to new levels of nationally recognized excellence,” said Interim Provost John Zomchick. “We thank him for his service and must now begin the task of finding someone with the drive and the vision to help build upon the momentum that has been generated under his watch.”

“As an alumnus of the college, I take great pride in the strides that have been made, the goals that we have met, and the obstacles we have overcome as a team,” said Davis, who earned his master’s degree in environmental engineering and doctorate in civil engineering from UT in 1973 and 1975 respectively.

“I am honored to have been a part of this exciting journey, and look forward to seeing our faculty and students continue to solve the challenges of tomorrow.”

Davis has served in faculty and administrative roles at UT for 43 years, including stints as assistant dean of the Graduate School from 1985 through 1988 and as its associate dean from 1988 through 1991. He became interim dean of the Tickle College of Engineering in 2008 before assuming the role permanently the next year.

Since that time, Davis has overseen tremendous growth in all areas of the college’s mission. Some of the signal accomplishments under his leadership include:

  • Naming of the college as the Tickle College of Engineering in 2016
  • Growth in student population by almost 2,000
  • Near-doubling of doctoral enrollment and graduate rates
  • More than doubled the endowed faculty positions, now 37, accounting for $19 million in funds
  • Adding of 42 new full-time faculty positions
  • Doubling of research expenditures to more than $70 million per year
  • Meeting the current campaign’s initial goal of $150 million and extending it to $200 million
  • Opening of the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, the John D. Tickle Engineering Building, and a new $129 million Engineering Complex in the design phase
  • Adding of four named professors of practice
  • Increasing partnerships and research with the various laboratories in Oak Ridge and with businesses throughout Tennessee

Both the number and quality of students have increased during his tenure. For incoming freshmen the average high-school GPA is 4.05 and the score on the ACT math portion is 30.5. Additionally, the percentage of women studying in the college has increased from 16 percent to 23 percent—above the national average of 20 percent.

Davis has been instrumental in fostering the growth of the joint UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair program, with 12 of 16 Governor’s Chairs having appointments to the college, all of whom were hired under his watch.

In 2003, Dean Davis was named University Macebearer, UT’s highest faculty honor. He has been recognized for his service and accomplishments by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, the National Science Foundation, ORNL, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

He is a fellow member of the Air and Waste Management Association and American Society of Engineering Education and is a Board Certified member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineering and Science.

A national search for a new dean for the Tickle College of Engineering will begin in the near future. The newly appointed dean will occupy the Wayne T. Davis Endowed Dean’s Chair.