Joseph J. McCarthy

  • Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

As provost and senior vice chancellor, Joseph J. McCarthy has primary responsibility for the University of Pittsburgh’s academic mission, including supporting scholarly excellence among more than 5,900 faculty members and academic success among nearly 34,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students on all five campuses.

McCarthy assumed the role of provost and senior vice chancellor in April 2024 after a national search and after having served as interim provost and senior vice chancellor in July 2023.

Prior to this role, McCarthy served as vice provost for undergraduate studies, focusing on enhancing the academic experience of Pitt’s undergraduates. This work included developing and facilitating programs to improve student satisfaction and retention, student success, and the overall learning environment (quality of programs, dissemination of opportunities, undergraduate advising and mentoring, and diversity of perspectives and people). In addition, he and his team coordinated the review of programs and policies affecting undergraduate education and collaborated with University committees, including the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Programs and the Enrollment Management Steering Committee.

McCarthy is also the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. A member of Pitt’s faculty since 1998, he has been recognized for his contributions to teaching and curriculum development and for his leadership of undergraduate research programs. In 2008, he earned the Carnegie Science University Educator Award for developing and implementing the innovative “Pillars” curriculum that reshaped undergraduate education in chemical engineering. His other accolades include the Swanson School’s Outstanding Educator Award (2012) and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2015).

McCarthy’s record of administrative experience in the chemical engineering department dates back to 2005 and includes serving as undergraduate coordinator, then as vice chair for education. In these roles, he focused on leading department-wide educational initiatives for undergraduate and graduate programs during a period when the department’s undergraduate enrollment more than tripled. 

He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Physical Society (APS) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He also has served on the editorial board of the AIChE Journal and as an executive committee member for the 2013 APS – Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting and as an organizer and plenary speaker at the 2007 international Discrete Element Methods conference in Brisbane.

McCarthy has published more than 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts in various international journals, conference proceedings and popular press outlets such as Nature, PNAS, Langmuir, Angewandte Chemie, Soft Matter, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review E, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the Journal of Physical Chemistry C, the AIChE Journal, Powder Technology, Chemical Engineering Science, the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, and Chaos. His publications have resulted in an H-index of 32, and his research group has given more than 45 invited lectures to industry, national laboratories, academia, international conferences, and workshops.

McCarthy holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Education & Training

  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University, 1998
  • BS in Chemical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 1993

Representative Publications

  • "Transport analogy for segregation and granular rheology," Siying Liu and Joseph J. McCarthy, Phys. Rev. E 96, 020901(R) – Published 10 August 2017
  • Lash, Melissa, Morgan V Fedorchak, Joseph McCarthy, and Steve Little. 2015. “Scaling up SelfAssembly: Bottom-up Approaches to Macroscopic Particle Organization" (cover article). Soft Matter 11 (28): 5597–5609. doi:10.1039/C5SM00764J.
  • Lash, Melissa H, Morgan V Fedorchak, Steven R Little, and Joseph J Mccarthy. 2015. “Fabrication and Characterization of Non-Brownian Particle-Based Crystals" (cover article). Langmuir 31: 898–904. doi:10.1021/la501511s.
  • H Li and J J McCarthy. Controlling Cohesive Particle Mixing and Segregation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 (2003), p. 184301
  • Guy Metcalfe, Troy Shinbrot, J J McCarthy, and Julio M Ottino. Avalanche mixing of granular solids (cover article). Nature 374 (1995), pp. 39–41

Research Interests

  • Multi-scale, multi-phase study of the transport phenomena (the flow of momentum, heat, and mass within a system) aimed at understanding materials processing and process engineering
  • Development of the Discrete Element Method (DEM; a technique that relies on first-principles simulation of particle-level physics) and its integration with multi-physics problems, including: incorporation of cohesive and adhesive modeling components, coupling with Lattice-Boltzmann (LB), incorporating thermo-mechanical interactions (for which he was the original developer of the “Thermal Particle Dynamics” technique), and extension to multi-scale problems (where he recently developed a hybrid DEM-Molecular Dynamics technique suitable for the study of catalyst preparation)


  • CASE US Professor of the Year Nominee, 2015
  • Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2015
  • Swanson School of Engineering Outstanding Educator Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2012
  • Selected for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium, 2009
  • Carnegie Science Award for Higher Education, 2008