Julio M. Ottino

Julio M. Ottino, Dean

From the Dean

Greetings from McCormick

Two years into my tenure as dean, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the progress that we have made at McCormick. We have launched several new initiatives — in collaboration with the deans of other schools and with the support of Northwestern’s administration — that will take McCormick to the “Next Level of Excellence.”

I have spent much of the past two years talking to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and colleagues about the importance of engineering in today’s world. It is our belief that engineering is the driver of innovation, and that it is key to America’s economic success. Studying engineering — and molding the disciplined and powerful thinking that results from the study of engineering — offers our students a way to acquire timeless skills that will allow them to prosper in a variety of fields and settings in our ever-changing world.

These conversations have resulted in the development of four new initiatives — with more to come — that will provide our constituencies with the infrastructure, curriculum, and inspiration necessary to retain our competitive advantage:

• The Segal Design Institute, funded by a generous gift from Gordon and Carole Segal, will enhance McCormick’s strong reputation for design, expanding it from the undergraduate level to the graduate level and beyond and linking us with the J. L. Kellogg School of Management and other schools within Northwestern.

• The Certificate in Managerial Analytics, offered in conjunction with the Kellogg School of Management, will provide a new undergraduate business option for McCormick’s most quantitatively and analytically capable students.
• The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will prepare students to be successful innovators and foster University-wide curriculum development. A new course developed through the center, Medical Innovation, will link students from McCormick, Feinberg, Kellogg, and the School of Law.

• The Northwestern Center for Engineering Education Research, a collaboration with the School of Education and Social Policy, will ensure that McCormick’s programs are on the vanguard of engineering education.

Our key indicators show that we’re on the right track. Our donor base has grown, and our alumni are actively engaged in many of our new initiatives. Undergraduate applications rose significantly over last year, media coverage for McCormick is up, and research funding continues to grow despite decreases in available funding. This year we welcomed seven new faculty members to McCormick, and the percentage of accepted offers nearly doubled over years past.

In this issue of the magazine you will find a broad sampling of the exciting and innovative research at McCormick. Our emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration — whether within the University or with other organizations — remains strong. We highlight two alumni — Bob Shaw and Ed Voboril — who have been instrumental in supporting our new initiatives. 

It’s been a very busy, yet very rewarding two years as dean. I look forward to sharing even more of our exciting progress with you as we move forward to moving McCormick to an even higher level of excellence.