Dr. Stephen Silliman named dean of Trevecca’s new School of STEM

Accomplished professor of engineering and environmental studies Stephen Silliman, Ph.D., has joined Trevecca Nazarene University as dean of the new School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Silliman, recognized extensively in his career for his work in both academics and research related to science and engineering, was dean of Gonzaga University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science from 2012-2018. He later served at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Development Lab as a Jefferson Science Fellow before returning to Gonzaga as an environmental studies and engineering professor in 2019. Prior to Gonzaga, Silliman was a professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, where he also served in leadership roles like associate department chair and associate dean for undergraduate programs.

“We’re honored to have an individual of Dr. Silliman’s experience, academic integrity and faith-based outlook to help lead the way as we organize several key disciplines at Trevecca under one umbrella,” said Trevecca Provost Dr. Tom Middendorf. “We look forward to his leadership in helping Trevecca grow through our School of STEM.”

In addition to numerous honors for engineering and teaching, Silliman has earned special recognition through his focus on hydrology and water resources. Outside the Jefferson Science Fellowship in 2019, he served as a worldwide Darcy Lecturer for the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation in 2011; was awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Israel in 1997-1998; and was nominated for a World Water Prize in 2009. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts on technical and educational topics, and over several years served in associate editor roles for the American Geophysical Union’s Water Resources Research and journals Hydrogeology, Ground Water and the Journal of Hydrology.

Silliman’s faith-based interests have also led him to participate in service project work to aid development in low- and middle-income countries like Haiti and Benin, West Africa. His efforts have included study and development to provide groundwater resources for those populations, in addition to education and health initiatives.

Silliman earned his Ph.D. and master’s degrees in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona.  He also has a civil engineering degree from Princeton University, and is a graduate of the management development program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

At Trevecca, Silliman plans to remain active in the classroom as dean of the School of STEM.  Initially, his primary responsibilities will include migrating the University’s technology and engineering programs into the newly restructured STEM school that also includes Trevecca’s health sciences programs. Trevecca recently broke ground on a 33,000-square-foot health sciences expansion of its STEM facility.

About the University

Trevecca Nazarene University is a Christian university in the heart of Nashville focused on preparing students for lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1901, Trevecca is committed to holistic education that encourages students to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In addition to its historic main campus near downtown Nashville, Trevecca offers two other locations across Tennessee, and online classes worldwide. With students from 47 states and 25 countries, Trevecca offers 20 associate degrees, 73 undergraduate majors,19 master’s programs and three doctoral programs as well as specialist and certificate programs.

Trevecca has been recognized recently with a national university listing in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Colleges; a doctoral university classification from the Carnegie Foundation; and a statewide top 10 listing by WalletHub’s 2021 College and University Ranking.


Media Contact: Brian Bennett, bwbennett2@trevecca.edu