Thomas N. Farris

Thomas N. Farris
Rutgers University, USA
Dean of the School of Engineering

Thomas N. Farris was named dean of the School of Engineering at Rutgers University beginning on July 1, 2009, overseeing the School’s nine academic programs, seven research centers, and administrative, budget, and student services offices. The School is comprised of approximately 140 faculty, 60 staff members, more than 3,200 undergraduates, and more than 700 graduate students. Well over 50% of the annual budget of approximately $90 million is generated through research grants and contracts. 

Prior to Rutgers, Farris joined the Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics as assistant professor in 1986 and was appointed school head in 1998. While there he administered undergraduate and graduate education and research programs. In 2009, the school had 30 faculty and approximately 520 undergraduate and 270 graduate students and performed more than $8.5 million in externally funded research annually. 

During his tenure at Purdue, Farris had active teaching and research interests in aerospace structures and materials with a focus on tribology, manufacturing processes, and fatigue and fracture and was named the 2008 W.A. Gustafson Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher. He supervised more than 45 M.S. and Ph.D. theses, authored or co-authored more than 100 archival publications as well as more than 100 papers and presentations at conferences. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator for more than $22 million in externally sponsored research of which he was directly responsible for more than $5 million. Research in fretting fatigue led to computer software now used throughout the aircraft engine industry to assess the effect of attachment fatigue on high cycle fatigue of gas turbine engines. 

He has been acknowledged for research by an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, the ASME/Boeing Structures and Materials Award for outstanding paper of 1998 SDM, the Journal of Strain Analysis P E Publishing Award in 2002, and the ASME’s Burt L. Newkirk Award.   

Farris is a member of the Materials Technical Committee of the AIAA, past chair of the Executive Committee of the Applied Mechanics Division of the ASME, and consultant to the Army Science Board. He is a Fellow of ASME (2001) and AIAA (2009). Farris is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Engineers Without Borders. 

Farris received a B.S.M.E. in 1982 from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics at Northwestern University in 1986. 

He and his wife, Bernadette, are the parents of four grown sons and a daughter.