Vandervelde appointed department chair

Professor Tom Vandervelde has been named chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, effective September 1, 2021.
Thomas Vandervelde

The School of Engineering is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Tom Vandervelde as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, effective September 1, 2021.

Vandervelde received his PhD in Physics from the University of Virginia. In 2008, he joined Tufts School of Engineering as the inaugural John A. and Dorothy M. Adams Faculty Development Assistant Professor. In 2014, he was promoted to associate professor and, in 2020, he was promoted to professor. He holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Physics and Astronomy.

His research focuses on the interaction of light with matter, the physics of nanostructures (semiconductor photonics and electronics) and interfaces, along with other special interests in energy materials. He directs the Renewable Energy and Applied Photonics (REAP) Lab and has received numerous early career awards such as the NSF CAREER Award, Alexander Von Humboldt Award, J.S. Mellon Fellowship, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Research Program Award, and the Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award. He is also a Senior Member of the Optics Society of America and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Vandervelde spearheaded the creation of the Tufts Interdisciplinary Advanced Materials (TIAMAT) Center, which unites over fifty materials researchers at Tufts under one umbrella, developed two new graduate degrees in materials science and engineering, and serves as the director of the Tufts Epitaxial Core Facility, which brings unique semiconductor production capacity to Tufts.

He is an outstanding mentor who is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of his teaching and advising. He has twice been recognized with the Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Awards at the Graduate Awards ceremony hosted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. His efforts to broaden engineering’s appeal and to retain students in underrepresented groups led him to found the NSF-funded Creating Future Female Engineering Leaders program at Tufts. He was also co-PI and faculty mentor for the FAST-TRAC program, an NSF-funded program that encourages underrepresented students to pursue graduate degrees in engineering, and he has been involved in mentorship and teaching opportunities around the university as a faculty fellow in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO).

The School of Engineering thanks outgoing chair Professor Eric Miller, who had led the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2012, for his tremendous leadership and contributions to the department.