Sharon L. Walker Appointed Dean of the College of Engineering

Sharon L. Walker, PhD.

Below is a message from Drexel University President John Fry and Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD:

With its proud tradition of use-inspired research, academic rigor, and historic importance to Drexel, the College of Engineering will now move forward under the guidance of a leader whose own expertise in environmental engineering holds great promise for safeguarding public health worldwide.

We are so very pleased to announce the appointment of Sharon L. Walker, PhD, a Yale-trained chemical and environmental engineer who will begin as dean of our College of Engineering on Sept. 1. She comes to the college from the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside), where she serves as interim dean of the Bourns College of Engineering.

As we welcome the new dean, we also want to thank Giuseppe R. Palmese, PhD, for his effective and enthusiastic stewardship as interim dean of the University’s largest college. On Palmese’s watch, the more than 3,500 full-time engineering students can be confident that Drexel remains in the forefront of engineering education, with its reputation for excellence secure.

Walker looks to build on the work of Palmese and the former dean, Joseph B. Hughes, PhD. Her vision includes reinvigorating curriculum, recruiting more graduate students, and providing faculty development that leverages best practices from her current and past engineering higher education leadership roles.

Her research in the area of water quality fits naturally with Drexel’s work in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, while simultaneously enhancing the college’s connection to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

At UC Riverside, Walker has focused not only on traditional academics, but on helping students develop skills for the workplace, classroom, and life. Indeed, our search committee was very much impressed by Walker’s energy, presence and innovative ideas and perspectives.

In addition to her doctorate in environmental engineering, Walker received a master’s in chemical engineering from Yale University. She was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel during 2009-2010, and has been a principal investigator on a number of grants from such agencies as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) aimed at motivating community college students to transfer to a four-year university to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Walker also has held leadership positions in national engineering-related organizations and has been honored nationally on many occasions, notably as a 2017 Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP).

Prior to being named interim dean in 2016, Walker was an associate dean and graduate advisor at UC Riverside. She was named to the John Babbage Chair in Environmental Engineering in 2004, was co-organizer of numerous engineering conferences and continues to publish extensively.

We also want to thank the search committee chair, Yi Deng, PhD, dean of the College of Computing & Informatics, and all the members of the committee for their hard work.

Please join us in welcoming Sharon to the College of Engineering.


John Fry


M. Brian Blake

Executive Vice President and Provost