Dean’s Report, 2017-2021

The past several years brought growth and a renewed focus on diversity and engagement to the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. We worked to optimize our programs and outreach efforts to provide students with a supportive, multidisciplinary experience—while dealing with a global health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic, though disruptive, brought opportunities to apply creativity and resourcefulness to fluctuations in our budget and methods of program delivery.

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Report Highlights

Academic Programs

We now offer six bachelor’s degree programs, with the addition of new degrees in biomedical engineering and mechatronics engineering. We also introduced three new doctoral programs, which complement our five master’s degree programs and 13 graduate certificates.

Student Services and Engagement

Over the past several years, we expanded our student advising services, adding personnel while retaining our focus on precision advising. In 2018, we redesigned our senior design program to emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration. In spring 2021, we designated Fridays as Engagement Days, providing students with dedicated time outside of class for research and other engaged learning opportunities.

Research and Collaborations

In fiscal year 2021, we experienced a significant increase in the research productivity of faculty serving as principal and co-principal investigators. We also collaborated with several internal and external partners, including the NIU Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships, the Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development, Hanover Research and Sauk Valley Community College.

Alumni and Advancement

Over the past two years, we worked with the NIU Foundation to connect with more than 100 alumni to cultivate and solicit major gifts. We recently received our largest planned gift ($3.5M) in support of scholarships for high-achieving students, which will enhance recruitment efforts.

Future Initiatives

In the fall of 2021, we introduced our strategic plan for 2021-2026. As we move forward, we’ll focus on three areas prioritized in the plan: an educational environment that promotes experiential learning, the enhancement of innovative research, and increased collaboration with industry and the community. We’ll also work to close equity gaps, enrich pedagogy and facilitate student engagement.
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