SMU names Nader Jalili Dean of Lyle School of Engineering

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU has named Nader Jalili dean of Lyle School of Engineering. Currently professor and head of mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama, Jalili is an innovative leader and researcher, known for bringing the resources of engineering education and research to undergraduate and graduate students, industry partners and community outreach programs.

He will join SMU on March 1, 2023.

“Engineering is a profession dedicated to problem-solving, and Dr. Jalili is well-positioned to help the Lyle School of Engineering increase its role in meeting the challenges of our rapidly-developing world,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We look forward to his leadership at this important time in SMU’s development as a premier university.”

In his four and a half years as head of mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama, Jalili led a significant increase in external research awards and enrollment as well as the creation of the Alabama Initiative on Manufacturing Development and Education, designed to better prepare future highly skilled workers through a convergence of education, research and service. The Alabama Initiative has guided multiple research projects in the core areas of automation, human-robot collaboration/integration and augmentation and has partnered with numerous outreach programs to promote new career paths for middle and high school students in the region.

“The Lyle School of Engineering aspires to increase its long-standing premier status in the region and to raise its national profile,” said Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Campus stakeholders valued Dr. Jalili’s career accomplishments in research and entrepreneurship, student success and leadership and enthusiastically received his short- and long-term vision for the Lyle school.

“Lyle has a dedicated executive board, faculty and staff who have for years fostered a culture of engineering excellence and innovation,” Loboa said. “Under Dean Jalili’s leadership, we are well-positioned to advance Lyle’s reputation both within the academy and industry and to expand our impact in line with SMU’s aspirations for even greater academic excellence.”

Before joining the University of Alabama, Jalili led the Northeastern Piezoactive Systems Laboratory at Northeastern University in Boston, which was formed in 2010 to model and study micro nano-electromechanical sensors and actuators. He later became associate department chair for graduate studies and research, where he facilitated the creation of several new degree programs in areas such as mechatronics, robotics and human-machine interface, while leading graduate student recruitment and admission and overseeing department research activities.

After completing his graduate education and serving briefly as a visiting professor at Northern Illinois University in 1999, Jalili joined Clemson University in 2000, where he helped create an industry mindset graduate program in automotive engineering at Clemson. The program has since become the main component of a major research and educational center in the Southeast, known for creating a global research and economic development venue for the automotive industry.

An active researcher, Jalili has been PI or Co-PI on more than $17 million in external funding, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense in the domain of vibration, control and  robotic-based manufacturing.

He is the author or co-author of more than 350 peer-refereed technical publications, including 135 journal papers, two textbooks, five book chapters and two U.S. patents. A fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Jalili has chaired numerous society committees and edited several engineering academic journals. In addition, he is the recipient of more than 30 international, national and institutional awards for his research, leadership, teaching and service.

Jalili received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, and his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Connecticut.

“The Lyle School of Engineering has unmatched potential to lead superior quality research and education programs as well as to prepare students to become leaders and innovators in solving the rapidly challenging problems of the 21st century,” Jalili said. “I look forward to the opportunity to bring my seasoned experience to help SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering advance to become one of the most innovative engineering schools, known for producing engineers who are agile, technically strong, multidisciplinary and capable of innovations to lead and develop solutions to meet society’s needs.”


SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and more than 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers eight undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, through the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Management, Information and Systems; and Mechanical Engineering. Lyle students participate in programs in the unique Deason Innovation Gym, providing the tools and space to work on immersion design projects and competitions to accelerate leadership development and the framework for innovation; the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, helping students develop nontechnical skills to prepare them for leadership in diverse technical fields; the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, developing new methodologies for incorporating engineering education into K-12 schools; theLinda and Mitch Hart Institute for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, combining the innovative forces of Lyle and the Cox School of Business to integrate their expertise, resources and guidance to develop technology prototypes and create viable business plans; and the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, combining technological innovation with business expertise to address global poverty.