Dr. David B. Williams is the 23rd dean of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University, a leading research institution and one of the nation’s most distinguished land-grant universities. As dean, Williams is responsible for the strategic vision, mission and goals of the college, oversees the education of more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and leads the administration of 950 combined faculty, research scientists and staff.
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Drawing on his extensive collaborative experience, Dean Williams continues to create partnerships between the university, the Central Ohio community, and regional and national partners including Battelle, Boeing, GE, GM, Honda, NetJets and NASA Glenn. With his background in research, he is working to increase funding for Ohio State’s many internationally recognized research centers. Williams is accomplished at managing complex organizations under financial constraints and developing universities as engines of economic growth. He has a robust history of fundraising in the public and private sectors, bringing financial support to realize the institution’s strategic goals.
The Ohio State University was founded in 1870; the Department of Mathematics and Engineering was one of seven original departments. Today, the College of Engineering offers 14 undergraduate and 15 graduate programs in 10 departments or centers, as well as three undergraduate and four graduate degrees in the Knowlton School of Architecture.
The College of Engineering graduate program is ranked 1st in Ohio and 29th among all engineering schools nationally in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report listings. The publication also ranked Ohio State's engineering undergraduate academic program 14th among public universities whose highest degree is a doctorate, up from 17th last year.
Among its 285 full-time faculty, six are members of the National Academy of Engineering. More than 25 research laboratories support industry and government with leading research in electromagnetics, transportation, bioengineering, advanced materials, geospatial technology and software technology.
A native of Leeds, England, Williams holds B.A., M.A., Ph.D. and Sc.D. degrees from the University of Cambridge. He is a strong advocate for excellence in education and research, and is co-author and editor of 11 textbooks and conference proceedings and author or co-author of over 400 publications on the application of electron microscopy to studies of metals and alloys.
Williams served as the fifth president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville from 2007 to 2011. As president, he was instrumental in leading UA Huntsville into the Carnegie Foundation Tier One research classification through the hiring of several eminent scholars, the opening of the first office for Oak Ridge National Laboratory on any U.S. campus, and the creation of pioneering research collaborations such as one with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s “Skunk Works.”
Before joining UA Huntsville, Williams spent 31 years at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., where was professor of materials science and engineering. His research and administrative experiences were strongly supported by many federal agencies, including NSF, DOE, NASA and the U.S. Army. From 1980 to 1998, he directed Lehigh’s Electron Microscope Laboratory and the Microscopy School, long considered the world leader in electron microscopy education. He chaired Lehigh’s Materials Science and Engineering Department from 1992 to 2000 and was vice provost for research from 2000-2007.