Julio Ottino, dean of Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering since 2005, will step down as dean at the end of this school year.

Provost Kathleen Hagerty, who announced the decision today, said Ottino “has been a transformative leader” for the engineering school “raising the bar for excellence at all levels” and solidifying “Northwestern’s place among the very best engineering schools in the world.”

Peter Barris, chair of Northwestern’s board of trustees, said Ottino “has positioned the McCormick School of Engineering for lasting success and impact.” 

“As dean, my goal was to change the culture of the McCormick School,” Ottino said. “Working with an outstanding team of faculty, staff and students, I am delighted that we have been able to do just that. Our school is more connected, innovative and collaborative than ever before.”

Following a leave, Ottino will continue to serve as a professor at the school.

Hagerty said university will name a search committee to find his successor as dean soon.

Engineering enrollments at all levels have grown significantly under Ottino’s tenure.

At the undergraduate level, engineering majors now account for nearly a quarter of the student population.

At the graduate level, master’s degree programs have surged, including in new programs in analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics and the joint MBAi program with the Kellogg School of Management.

The joint MMM Program, also with Kellogg, was completely redesigned to focus on design innovation. The Ph.D. population also has grown substantially and is a leader in educating women and underrepresented minority students.

Ottino has encouraged interdisciplinary initiatives, including establishing the Segal Design Institute and the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which offer courses to students across campus.

Research funding at McCormick has more than doubled during Ottino’s tenure, and computer science course enrollments have increased more than five-fold over the past decade.

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