The College of New Jersey announced today that, following a national search, Andrea L. Welker has been named dean of the School of Engineering, effective July 1, 2022.
Welker comes to TCNJ from Villanova University, where she began her faculty career in 1999. In her current leadership role, which she has held for six years, she serves as associate dean for academic affairs for the College of Engineering where she is responsible for undergraduate programs and policies; diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; student programming, support, and retention; entrepreneurial engineering programs; strategic planning and implementation; and assessment.
At Villanova, Welker was a co-founder of the College of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, which introduced professional development opportunities on inclusive pedagogy and intergenerational communication and secured funding for students from underrepresented groups to travel to professional conferences, among other initiatives. As a result of these efforts, Villanova’s College of Engineering was recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education with Bronze status for diversity in engineering, a distinction that Villanova shares with TCNJ.
“TCNJ is true to their mission and provides exciting opportunities for their faculty, staff, and students,” Welker said. “And, being from New Jersey, I knew about the college’s and school’s excellent reputation. As I moved through the process from our first Zoom meeting to meeting in person off-campus and then on-campus, I felt “at home” with everyone I met. The faculty and staff are devoted to the students and to making the school the best it can possibly be. I’m eager to be a part of that environment.”
Welker has also provided substantial leadership in international partnerships and programming. She has led the college’s study abroad efforts, including creating a new partnership with Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to the pandemic, her commitment to internationalization led to a significant increase in engineering undergraduates studying globally: 30% of Villanova’s engineering students studied abroad compared to the national average of 5%.
At the national level, Welker has been deeply engaged with the American Society for Engineering Education. She has held numerous leadership positions within ASEE, including serving as chair of the Civil Engineering Division. She has also been a national leader for the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurship Network. Additionally, in 2021 she accepted the ABET Innovation Award for Career Compass professional development program.
“We are delighted to bring such a distinguished administrator-teacher-scholar to this important deanship,” said Jeffrey Osborn, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. Welker has wide-ranging experience in developing and transforming programs, growing research engagement, practicing inclusive excellence, and leading strategically. Coupled with her focus on the value of connections, an entrepreneurial mindset, and the powerful impacts of an engineering education, Dr. Welker is a terrific match for the School of Engineering and TCNJ.”
Welker serves on the Villanova faculty as professor of civil and environmental engineering. She has taught a diverse range of courses and has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students. In fact, two TCNJ engineering alumni completed their graduate degrees with Welker. Her research program has been funded by grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PA Department of Environmental Protection, William Penn Foundation, and Delaware Watershed Research Fund.
“I’m starting at a unique time. The opportunity of having a new dean in engineering and science start at the same time is incredible,” Welker said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Sunita Gupta Kramer to develop a strong and fruitful partnership between the two schools. I am also looking forward to seeing the School of Engineering’s incredible facilities in use and engaging with alums and industry partners. In short, I can’t wait to learn from everyone and become a part of this tight-knit community.”
Welker earned both her BS and MS from Drexel University and her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, all in civil engineering.