McCormick Office of Personal Development helps students transform into self-aware, empowered, and knowledgeable whole-brain engineMcCormick Office of Personal Development helps students transform into self-aware, empowered, and knowledgeable whole-brain engine


The McCormick Office of Personal Development supports the McCormick School of Engineering's focus on its students and provides resources and opportunities for their personal growth. 

By creating an environment that encourages students to explore available opportunities and engage in new experiences, MOPD helps transform McCormick students into whole-brain engineers.

Our Mission

McCormick Office of Personal Development strives to cultivate a student body of engineers who are:

  • more self-aware
  • empowered to take ownership and responsibility for their learning
  • knowledgeable about the opportunities available to them, and how those opportunities connect to their personal goals
  • highly resilient and possess the scope of vision to take on complex problems

Creating Whole-Brain™ Engineers

Whole-brain engineering refers to the balance of both “right-brain” and “left-brain” ways of thinking as engineers aim to understand, frame, and solve problems.

“Left-brain” implies skills that are logical, analytical, rational, and quantitative, in contrast to “right-brain” skills, which are creative, integrative, artistic, and emotional. Whole-brain engineers possess the ability to combine both ways of thinking to the complex problems they solve.

Explore how McCormick promotes whole-brain engineering

Developing Five Core Competencies

The McCormick Office of Personal Development assists students in developing five core competencies which help them achieve their academic and personal goals.

MOPD helps students develop the skills to be lifelong adaptive learners by fostering the five core competencies:

  • Awareness: Leveraging intellectual curiosity and the confidence to question as you create your personal, professional, and civic identity
  • Optimization: Identifying tensions among competing resources and desired outcomes, and applying resources to accomplish goals
  • Fidelity: Loyalty to a consistent level of quality and integrity based on internal motivations, rather than external demands or rewards
  • Resilience: Persevering in the face of challenging situations
  • Self-Reliance: Confidently applying knowledge of yourself and your abilities in the service of your values and goals

As you work to develop these core competencies during your time at McCormick, we encourage you to:


Northwestern offers a wide range of experiences to students. We want you to be intentional about the extracurricular activities you choose.


As you consider all your academic options, we offer meetings and seminars where you can discuss your work and development with fellow students and advisers.


Through critical examination of and reflection on your experiences, we hope you'll leave McCormick with clear ideas of who you are and how you can reach your goals.