A headshot of Clifford Henderson

Henderson Named Dean of UA College of Engineering

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Clifford L. Henderson has been named the next dean of The University of Alabama College of Engineering and will begin his tenure August 1.

Henderson comes to UA from the University of South Florida after spending five years as a professor and chair of the department of chemical, biological and materials engineering. Prior to moving to USF, Henderson spent more than 18 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering where he was professor and Glen Wright Senior Faculty Fellow before his departure at the end of 2016.

Henderson obtained his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his Master of Science and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

“Dr. Henderson was selected from a large, diverse and highly qualified pool of applicants from national and international organizations,” said Dr. James Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost. “His academic experience as teacher, researcher and collaborative leader at Georgia Tech and USF position him as the ideal leader for our College of Engineering.”

During his time at Georgia Tech, Henderson also served for a period as a National Science Foundation expert and program director in the NSF Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation where he led the Functional Materials Program and other related efforts.

Henderson has published more than 200 papers related to his research, including more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, contributed to more than 400 abstracts and presentations at national and international conferences, and served as principal investigator on more than $10 million in funding from a variety of federal agencies, industrial sponsors and industry consortia including the NSF, Defense Advanced Research Projects agency, U.S. Air Force, National Institutes of Health, Intel Corporation, Semiconductor Research Corporation and SEMATECH.

In recognition of excellence and impact of his research, teaching and service contributions to the field of engineering, Henderson has been elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, International Society of Optics and Photonics, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Amongst his many other honors and recognitions, he was the recipient of the University of South Florida Outstanding Faculty Award in 2018, AIChE Herb Epstein Award in 2013, Intel Outstanding Researcher Award in 2012 and an NSF CAREER Award in 2000.

“I am honored to have been selected as the next dean for The University of Alabama College of Engineering and I am very excited about the opportunity to help lead it as it continues on its rise to becoming one of the most impactful engineering programs in the nation,” said Henderson. “The college has seen dramatic growth and investment over the last decade, and the future of the college looks very bright indeed. With brand new state-of-the-art facilities for virtually all of its departments and operations, the college is in a position that many other universities would envy.

“People around the U.S. and globe are becoming increasingly aware of the remarkable things happening at UA and within the college, but with the help of our terrific students, faculty, staff, administrative leaders and industry and government partners, I believe we can quickly capitalize and build on prior successes to elevate the college into a place of national engineering leadership.”

The UA College of Engineering is one of the five oldest engineering institutions in the nation. The college serves approximately 4,750 undergraduate students and 650 graduate students who are pursuing one of 15 undergraduate or 14 graduate degrees spanning the engineering and computer science disciplines. It is recognized nationally for the number of undergraduate and graduate students who receive national awards and scholarships, with more than 300 National Merit Finalists, more than 2,200 honors students and 45% of its students receiving merit-based scholarships in fall 2021.

Dalton also expressed his deep gratitude to Interim Dean Ed Back.

“Interim Dean Back was an amazing leader for the College of Engineering during this transition period,” said Dalton. “He not only maintained the positive trajectory of the college but made many strategic moves to position it for even greater success as Dean Henderson steps into the role.”

Back will be returning to his role as chair of the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering on August 1.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, bryant.welbourne@ua.edu, 205-348-8325