Faculty/Staff Profile

Joseph J. Rencis, Ph.D.

Dean of Engineering, Clay N. Hixson Chair for Engineering Leadership, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Highest Degree University: Case Western Reserve University
PO Box: 5005
(931) 372-3172

More Information

Dr. Joseph J. Rencis, born and raised in Northwestern New Jersey, received a B.S. from Milwaukee School of Engineering, M.S. from Northwestern University, and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. From 1985 to 2004, he was an Assistant, tenured Associate, and tenured Full Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). At WPI, he was Director of Engineering Mechanics from 1995 to 2004. From 2004 to 2010, he was Department Head and the inaugural holder of the Twenty-first Century Leadership Chair in Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Rencis was a tenured Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas from 2004 to 2011. Dr. Rencis is an inaugural fellow of the Southeastern Conference Academic Consortium Leadership Development Program. Since 2011, he has been Dean of Engineering, the Clay N. Hixson Chair for Engineering Leadership, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University.


Throughout his career, Dr. Rencis’ principal research interests have been in boundary elements, finite elements, mechanics of materials, multiscale modeling, and engineering education. His research is supported by National Science Foundation and industry. Dr. Rencis has published over thirty five journal articles and over one hundred conference articles. He is an associate editor of the International Series on Advances in Boundary Elements, Journal of Online Engineering Education, and The Open Numerical Methods Journal. Dr. Rencis serves on the editorial board of Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements, The Open Mechanics Journal, and ISRN Applied Mathematics. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), and Wessex Institute of Great Britain. Dr. Rencis was recognized as the Cambridge Professional of the Year in Mechanical Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts. Dr. Rencis received the ASEE New England Section Outstanding Teaching Award. He is completing, as co-author with Hartley T. Grandin at WPI, an innovative undergraduate textbook, Mechanics of Materials: An Introduction with Integration of Theory, Analysis, Verification, and Design.    


Dr. Rencis is active in various professional organizations at the local and national levels. He was the Chair of the ASME Mechanical Engineering Department Heads Committee from 2008 to 2010 and was on the ASME Board of Directors for the Center for Education from 2006 to 2010. Rencis currently serves on the ASME National Nominating Committee, ASEE Midwest Section Chair, ASEE Professional Interest Council III Chair, and ASEE Board of Directors. Other positions include current Past Chair of ASEE Mechanical Engineering Division and Past Chair of ASEE Mechanics Division. Dr. Rencis is an ABET program evaluator and member of the National Collaborative for Engineering Graduate Education Reform. He has conducted reviews of new M.S. and Ph.D. engineering programs. Currently he serves on the advisory boards of United Arab Emirates University, John Brown University (past President), and Springdale High School Engineering/Architecture Academy. He received the ASEE New England Section Outstanding Leader Award, ASEE Mechanics Division James L. Meriam Service Award, and ASEE Midwest Section Outstanding Service Award. Rencis is listed in several Who’s Who publications.


Dr. Rencis and his spouse Minerva, an elementary teacher, and daughter Christina, a sophomore at Boston University, enjoy a variety of recreational, film, and theater activities.

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