Skip to main content

College of Engineering Expands Leadership Team

As Villanova’s College of Engineering continues to evolve and grow, Drosdick Endowed Dean Michele Marcolongo, PhD, saw a need to expand leadership in several key areas. In addition to establishing the new positions of associate dean for faculty affairs and director of strategic initiatives, she created two separate associate dean roles in graduate studies and research and innovation. She explains, “The strategic planning and administrative tasks required in these roles has made it unrealistic for one individual to manage both, as Dr. Jerry Jones has done so ably for the past decade.” The College’s newest associate deans will also continue to serve in their respective departments, maintaining a teaching and research presence to stay informed on the challenges and opportunities being faced by students and faculty.

The following individuals will join Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Andrea Welker and Associate Dean for Student Success and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Stephen Jones in the dean’s leadership circle:

Dr. Noelle Comolli

Dr. Noelle Comolli, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. Dr. Comolli is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, where she has served as chair since 2017. In this role, she established a diversity, equity and inclusion training program for faculty; a summer seminar series for undergraduates; professional development standards for graduate students; and a co-op option for undergraduates, as well as Senior Project Studio, an in-house co-op sponsored by corporate partners.

As part of the University’s NSF ADVANCE team, which promotes women and under-represented minorities in STEM, Dr. Comolli leads Change Management initiatives. She developed and oversees the Campus Leaders Workshop Series and the Department Chairs Peer Network.

As associate dean for faculty affairs, Dr. Comolli will develop and implement faculty recruitment outreach and active retention strategies and ensure that faculty have the necessary resources to be successful. She will also develop and implement strategies to promote respect, inclusion and diversity within the College, and work with HR to ensure equitable hiring practices.

Dr. Garrett Clayton

Dr. Garrett Clayton, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Recently promoted to professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr Clayton serves as director of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and Control. He has worked closely with graduate students through CENDAC, his Mechatronics research lab, and humanitarian engineering initiatives in Cambodia, where he was a Fulbright Scholar in 2018. He has also been an advisor for both master’s and PhD students. As a leader in the ME department, Dr. Clayton served on the curriculum, graduate, and laboratory committees, and was assistant department chair.

The newly established position of associate dean for graduate studies reflects the University’s 2016 designation in the Carnegie Classification® as a Doctoral Research Institution. In this role, Dr. Clayton will support the development and assessment of new and current graduate programs and create opportunities for graduate students to explore global and humanitarian interests, innovation and entrepreneurship prospects, and professional skills development.

Dr. Sylvie Lorente

Dr. Sylvie Lorente, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation. Though relatively new to Villanova (2019) where she is the College of Engineering Chair Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Lorente spent 22 years on the engineering faculty at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), University of Toulouse, France, where she reached the highest level in the French university system (Professor, Exceptional Class). She also spent three years as INSA’s head of foundation and vice president for corporate relations.

Dr. Lorente holds the Hung Hing-Ying Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Science and Technology at Hong Kong University, is Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), and an adjunct professor at Duke University. The author of seven books, 10 book chapters and 200+ peer-reviewed international journal papers, Dr. Lorente is listed among the 2% most cited scientists worldwide and is a member of the Academy of Europe.

As associate dean for research and innovation, Dr. Lorente will maximize the College’s potential for innovative research that builds on advancing the grand challenges of our world. She will play a major role in supporting faculty members in the development of their programs and provide mentorship in all aspects of the research process.

Dr. Bridget Wadzuk

Dr. Bridget Wadzuk, Director of Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Wadzuk is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Edward A. Daylor Chair of Civil Engineering, and associate director of the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems. Within the University, she has been part of the University Strategic Planning process and Faculty Congress, serving as chair of the Academic Policy Committee. In the College, Dr. Wadzuk has been active in her department and College graduate committees.

As director of strategic initiatives, Dr. Wadzuk will serve as point person for the College of Engineering’s strategic plan and lead future College-wide initiatives.

“Given the College of Engineering’s rapid upward trajectory, I am excited to work with these impressive leaders who will bring energy and ideas to these new roles,” says Dean Marcolongo.

Drs. Clayton and Lorente will assume their new roles on Sept. 1, 2021, while Dr. Comolli will begin on Jan 1, 2022.  Dr. Jerry Jones has graciously agreed to serve as Senior Associate Dean until Dec. 31, providing invaluable transition support at which time he will enjoy a year-long sabbatical before transitioning fully to his faculty position.