Blackketter Confirmed as Idaho Permanent Engineering Dean

Friday, March 12 2010

Written by Tania Thompson

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has appointed Donald M. Blackketter to the permanent position of dean of the College of Engineering, where he has served as interim dean for the past 15 months. The change takes effect on June 26, 2010.

Provost Doug Baker praised Blackketter's leadership of the college during challenging times in higher education.

"Through program prioritization, and through the economic downturn that embraced the world, Don has provided strategic leadership, calculated vision, and the ability to look around the corner to envision the possibilities for the College of Engineering in a tomorrow we are eager to see," said Baker. "Now is the time to move forward with stability and a continuity of leadership that is right for our statewide land-grant institution."

Blackketter said he is eager to continue the college's work.

"The need of society for quality engineers and computer science graduates is more important than it has ever been," said Blackketter. "The College of Engineering will continue to have as its mission to be an engine of innovation for creating new knowledge and developing the people that will apply science to benefit society. Certainly the current economic situation is challenging, and the achievement of our mission will require us to grow ongoing and new collaborations with our friends and partners."

Baker conducted a comprehensive review of Blackketter in late 2009 and early 2010, and concluded that Blackketter's strong leadership had brought significant advantage and strength to the college and the university. Following the comprehensive review, Baker sought and received a national search waiver from the university's human rights, access and inclusion office.

"The best interests of the institution are served through Don's continued leadership," Baker said.

Blackketter came to the University of Idaho in 1989. He was chair of the mechanical engineering department from 2005 until December 2008, when he was appointed interim dean of the college. He has been actively involved in student recruitment for his department and the college. He also has served as the acting director of the university-based National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) in 2004; as assistant director of NIATT, and as director of NIATT’s Center for Clean Vehicle Technology from 1998 to 2005. In 2003, Blackketter spent six months in Quito, Ecuador, on a Fulbright Scholarship presenting seminars on how to implement clean vehicle technologies. Since 2001, he also has been an adjunct professor in the environmental science department.

"It's an honor to be chosen as dean to serve the students, faculty, alumni and friends," said Blackketter. "Our students are impressive for their hard work, intellect and creativity, and they constantly are teaching us, as we pass along our knowledge and expertise. Faculty members impress me with their unwavering dedication to mentoring students through instruction and research. And, the success of our alumni demonstrates the high quality of our programs."

Blackketter earned bachelor of science, master of science and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Wyoming.
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit