Skip to main content

Provost announces upcoming COEN Dean search

from the Office of the Provost – August 11, 2023

JoAnn Lighty portrait
Dr. JoAnn Slama Lighty

Six years ago, Dr. JoAnn S. Lighty joined the College of Engineering as dean. In that time, her hard work has transformed the college and the university’s impact on engineering as a field. Her efforts have led to greater student success, expanded capacity for research, and built important industry relationships. I am writing today to announce that Dean Lighty will be entering her last year leading the college as dean. I look forward to continuing to work with her as the college transitions to new leadership. During the upcoming academic year, she will focus on the transition, completing key projects, and working with college leadership to prepare for a new dean.

While I look forward to more formally honoring her and recognizing her numerous accomplishments at Boise State University later in the academic year, it should be noted that during her time at Boise State, Dean Lighty has significantly advanced the college in the areas of student success, research, and growing and strengthening industry partnerships. Some of the highlights of Dean Lighty’s work include:

Student success:

    • Establishing the Micron Student Success Center;
    • Nearly doubling the amount of yearly scholarship money ($180,000 to $310,000) given to COEN students;
    • Engaging with community colleges to start creating clear pathways for community college students interested in entering the College of Engineering.


    • Dean’s Office reorganization and creation of the Research Affairs Office, with Associate Dean for Research;
    • Robust investment in infrastructure throughout the College of Engineering;
    • Completion of the Micron Center for Materials Research; Establishing new PhD programs (in Biomedical Engineering and soon-to-be Engineering).


    • Fostering an active Industry Advisory Board;
    • Industry-led funding for the Construction Management Building;
    • Driving force behind the establishment of the Institute for Microelectronics Education and Research in response to the CHIPS Act;
    • Academic leadership with the Idaho Engineering and Computer Science Initiative.

These and other notable achievements occurred all while Dean Lighty navigated the college through the challenges of the global pandemic.

A national search for a new Dean of the College of Engineering will begin in the fall of 2023. It is expected that Dr. Lighty will continue to serve as dean until the end of the 2023-24 academic year depending on the timing of the appointment of a new dean. In the year immediately after she steps back from the deanship, I am excited that she has agreed to take on an assignment as a Special Assistant to the Provost, focusing on STEM initiatives and opportunities within the CHIPS and Science Act, as well as preparing to transition back to the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering faculty as a Professor.

Please join me in offering heartfelt thanks to Dean Lighty for the significant leadership and service she has provided to the institution and for the work that will be done during the transition. The college has made tremendous progress under her leadership.  The college is also on a positive trajectory for continued student and research success and has a solid foundation for sustained industry engagement and collaboration.

John Buckwalter
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Boise State University