Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Special Search: Department Chair – Physical Science
Daytona Beach Campus

Position Specification

Key Responsibilities

The department offers a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Engineering Physics (EP) as well as a BS in Space Physics (SP). The EP program is one of the largest ABET accredited programs of its kind in the nation. The emphasis of the program, and of the department’s research, is upper atmospheric/space and plasma physics, space system control and engineering and electro-optical engineering. We seek an energetic, proactive leader who will share our vision to build on our current achievements and expand the programs with higher enrollment and research funding.


  • Provide strong academic leadership for the Department and vision for the growth of the Ph.D. program as well as of the undergraduate EP and SP undergraduate programs.
  • Provide supervision of undergraduate general education science courses.
  • Increase enrollment in all academic programs of the Department.
  • Ensure continuous improvements in the curriculum and quality of instruction.
  • Promote growth of the department’s research agenda and other forms of scholarship.
  • Provide leadership in developing research centers, new research projects and funding.
  • Build strong coalitions on campus with industry, government labs, and funding agencies in support of the department’s mission and research agenda.
  • Supervise the department’s compliance with accrediting standards.

Embry-Riddle is currently enjoying dynamic growth and academic success under the leadership of a new President.  With increased emphasis on leading edge, applied research, creation of new Ph.D. programs, global expansion of its Worldwide campus and multi-million dollar facilities expansion at the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses, the University is poised to move to the next levels as described in its Vision 2020.  Commensurate with this growth, the University wishes to expand its undergraduate and graduate enrollment.

Qualifications and Attributes

While no one person will embody all of them, the successful candidate will bring many of the following qualifications and attributes:

  • A record of excellence in teaching and scholarship and externally funded research commensurate with a tenured, senior faculty rank at a research-oriented academic institution with experience in supervising of PhD students.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness:  Evidence of energy, drive, and initiative, in combination with a track record of building and maintaining strong, trusting relationships will enhance a candidacy.  The ideal candidate will be a person whose personal strengths will contribute to the building of a strong, unified enrollment management team.  The new Chair must work effectively and comfortably with persons at all levels both within and outside ERAU to build and maintain positive relationships. We look for personal qualities that facilitate good working relationships within the university, among its alumni and industry leaders.
  • Management effectiveness:  The new Chair will be a proven, decisive, highly skilled manager, open in management style, respectful of alternative points of view, and comfortable in a collegial environment.  A seasoned, attentive manager will mentor staff and build and lead highly performing teams.  We seek demonstrated ability to lead and successfully manage professionals in academic, corporate or government organizations.
  • Exceptional communication skills:  An ability to convey the Embry-Riddle vision, priorities and values to a variety of internal and external constituencies, including prospective students and their families, senior administrators, faculty, alumni, and donors is essential.  The new Chair must have an effective public presence and must be comfortable and skillful as a spokesperson.
  • A demonstrated commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity at all levels within the University.
  • Uncompromising standards of excellence, complete integrity, and an ingrained sense of honesty and fairness.

Education Requirement

An earned Doctorate in Physics or Engineering (or another appropriate discipline)


An attractive compensation and benefit package will be provided to the successful candidate.

Candidacy Requirements

Candidates must submit a letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the Chair position, along with a current CV, and the names, addresses (including e-mail) and telephone numbers of at least three references.


Embry-Riddle will be accepting applications and nominations starting immediately. Please send nominations to Kenny Corbin, Director of Recruitment (kenneth.corbin@erau.edu). Applicants can apply online at www.erau.edu/jobs and search for IRC 45647 under Available Jobs.

University Background

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), the world’s leader in aviation and aerospace higher education, seeks a seasoned and dynamic Department Chair of Physical Sciences for the Daytona Beach campus. ERAU is the world’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious university specializing in aviation and aerospace. It is recognized as a premier educational institution and a global leader in teaching the science, practice and business of aviation, aerospace and engineering.


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University began on December 17, 1925, exactly 22 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, when T. Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle formed the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The following spring the Company opened the Embry-Riddle Flying School. 

In 1939, Riddle joined John and Isabel McKay to establish the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation.  They partnered with the University of Miami to provide flight training under the Civilian Pilot Training Program, increasing the number of pilots immediately preceding World War II.  Embry-Riddle had experienced a period of decline in the 1930s, but revitalized with the outbreak of World War II in Europe and its increased demand for aviators and mechanics.  Allied nations sent more than 25,000 young men to Embry-Riddle’s Florida centers to become pilots and aviation technicians.  

Following World War II, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute (ERAI) continued the business of training pilots.  Despite enduring financial hardship, the school continued to operate out of Miami.  In 1963, Jack R. Hunt was named the first president of the ERAI.  Under his leadership, Embry-Riddle continued to train pilots and mechanics in Miami.  In 1965, President Hunt consolidated Embry-Riddle’s flight training, ground school, and technical training programs in one location and moved the campus to Daytona Beach, Florida, signaling the rebirth of Embry-Riddle and the start of its journey to world-class status.  Within three years of the move, the institution was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  Two years later, in 1970, Embry-Riddle gained University status and was renamed Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

President Hunt was responsible for beginning the expansion of Embry-Riddle when he purchased a 510-acre site in Prescott, Arizona to establish the University’s western campus in 1978.  

Organizational Structure

Embry-Riddle is organized into three campuses.  Residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, provide education in a traditional setting, while the Worldwide Campus provides instruction to off-campus students through more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe and through online learning.  Combined annual enrollment for all campuses is more than 34,000.

Dr. John P. Johnson currently serves as the University’s fifth President.  Dr. Johnson was previously Provost and Interim President.  Dr. Richard H. Heist serves as the Chief Academic Officer of the Daytona Beach Campus. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Today

Embry-Riddle is a university dedicated to education, service, knowledge discovery, and a place for the debate of scientific, technological and social issues.  ERAU remains committed to teaching excellence that reflects creative thought and innovation, giving its students the knowledge and experience needed for personal fulfillment and professional success.  Like the aviation and aerospace industry it serves, Embry-Riddle is a dynamic institution; constantly evolving to keep pace, and to keep leading and planning now for the educational needs of those who will be future industry leaders.

ERAU is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian, coeducational private university with an endowment of approximately $64 million with a total annual operating budget of approximately $275 million.   

ERAU is currently planning on building, five new buildings designed to enhance both the academic experience as well as student residential life.

Embry-Riddle is the only accredited, aviation-oriented university in the world.  Utilizing a fleet of over 90 aircraft, the University serves culturally diverse students primarily motivated towards careers in aviation, aerospace and other related fields.  U.S. News & World Report, “America’s Best Colleges,” 2008 ranked Embry-Riddle's Aerospace Engineering program first in the nation and it is in the top 20 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, among schools without doctoral programs.  

It is the purpose of Embry-Riddle to provide a comprehensive education to prepare graduates for professional careers and responsible citizenship.  The University offers over 30 degree programs.  The curriculum covers the operation, engineering, research, manufacturing, marketing, and management of modern aircrafts and the systems that support them.  Under President Johnson’s leadership, the University has expanded its research activity, established new degree programs, such as the highly regarded Global Security and Intelligence Studies (GSIS) program at the Prescott campus, and is developing a global strategy to take its aviation and aerospace expertise overseas. 

The placement statistics for ERAU graduates are impressive, underscoring the value of an Embry-Riddle degree.  In 2009 across the nation college graduates were having difficulty in finding jobs. ERAU 2009 graduates were successfully employed within three months after graduation at twice the national average for other college graduates.

Within one year of graduation from the residential campuses, 97 percent of Embry-Riddle graduates overall are either employed or have decided to continue their education.  Opportunities for work experience through co-ops and internships abound, with about 370 students awarded positions during the 2006-2007 academic year.  Leading organizations throughout the aviation and aerospace industries look to Embry-Riddle for qualified individuals to serve in a variety of positions.  For example, the major airlines hire more alumni from Embry-Riddle than any other collegiate aviation program. 

Daytona Beach Campus

The Daytona Beach campus is located next to the Daytona Beach International Airport.  High-technology industries in the Daytona Beach and Orlando areas, as well as the Kennedy Space Center, provide the University with an outstanding support base.  The 185-acre campus serves more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  The campus offers state-of-the-art facilities, including the College of Aviation building, which has air traffic control simulation and research labs and a weather center; the Advanced Flight Simulation Center; the Lehman Engineering and Technology Center; and a new academic hall that houses the College of Business.

Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus enrollment is approximately 5,000 students coming from 50 states and 27 countries.  About 10 percent of the Daytona Beach campus is made up of international students and another 20 percent transferred after their freshmen year.  The student population is 17 percent female and approximately 24 percent underrepresented minority (6% percent African American, 8% Asian American, 9% Hispanic American, and 0.5% Native American).  The University boasts small class sizes, with a student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1 and classes averaging 23 students. 

Part of what makes the educational experience at ERAU so powerful is the fact that it is personal.  The intimate classes promote dynamic interaction between professors and students.  In addition, students benefit from the special attention faculty members are able to provide, including the opportunity to study closely with educators who are leaders in their professions.

Freshmen entering in the Fall of 2010 had an average high school GPA of 3.3 and a median SAT score of 1130.  Forty-seven percent of students graduated in the top twenty-five percent of their high school class.  Embry-Riddle receives a Carnegie Classification of “more selective,” meaning that first year students’ test scores placed the University in roughly the top fifth of baccalaureate institutions.

It is also an advantage that the climate in Daytona Beach is one of the best in the world. The average high temperature during the nine month academic year among East Coast colleges is 54 degrees, in the Midwest it is 53 degrees. Daytona Beach average for the academic year of 78 degrees. There are also more blue sky days (great for flight training) than almost anywhere in the United States.

How to Apply

All applications for positions at Embry-Riddle are submitted through our secure iRecruitment website. Applicants must create an application profile in the system. If you have not created your profile (using your email address and your own password) please begin by visiting the iRecruitment site and clicking on the "Register today" button. You may search for IRC45647 in the keyword field to find out more about this position.

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