McCormick Dean John Birge to resign in August 2004
You will find below John Birge’s announcement of his decision to step down as dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science in August, 2004, at the end of his fifth year in that position. This message has been sent this morning to faculty, staff, and students in McCormick.
John’s message describes well many of the achievements he has already made in his three-plus years as dean of McCormick. President Bienen and I are very grateful for the energy and imagination which John has brought to the leadership of McCormick. We are confident that John will be unflagging in his efforts and that we will see further progress in the School during the balance of his deanship.
We are also pleased to look forward to John’s contributions as a teacher and researcher once he leaves the deanship. In particular, we look forward to working with him and other members of the University community in developing further the important financial engineering initiatives he has pioneered at Northwestern.
John has been a widely respected and greatly valued colleague. While serving as a forceful spokesperson for McCormick’s ambitions and needs, he has worked constructively and generously with other deans on a variety of initiatives beneficial to his School and the University at large. Similarly, Henry and I have valued his thoughtful contributions to administrative discussions in the Council of Deans and other venues.
By notifying us now of his intentions, John permits us to conduct a thorough search for a worthy successor. Henry and I will be moving ahead to appoint a search committee. Meanwhile, we look forward to working with John during the coming months in our shared effort to build further the strength of the School and its programs.
Lawrence B. Dumas
I am writing to inform you about my plans and the future direction of the McCormick School. As I have told the president and provost, I have decided to complete a five-year term as dean ending in August 2004, but not to continue in the deanship beyond that date. The provost will shortly appoint a committee to begin a search for a successor. I am looking forward to returning full-time to my faculty position in September 2004 and to leading further efforts to develop McCormick’s financial engineering program.
Though much remains to be done and I look forward to working with you to accomplish that agenda in the next year and a half, I want to take this interim opportunity to thank you for your central role in the many achievements that we have made as a McCormick team over the past three and a half years of my tenure as dean.. With the leadership of very capable department chairs and the support of a strong administrative group, we will continue to build our leadership in engineering design education under IDEA, to add to our three-fold yield increase for top graduate student applicants, and to boost our undergraduate yield against our top 10 competitors by even more than the one-third increase we have already achieved.
With your assistance, we will continue to pursue energetically the recruitment of outstanding new faculty colleagues, building on the hiring of the 30 highly qualified faculty members in the past three years who have strengthened our McCormick team and have already produced 10 NSF CAREER awards. We will further enhance our inter-disciplinary mission, as we have already done with the establishment of new research centers, multi-investigator team projects, and joint faculty hires who bridge departments within McCormick and across schools at Northwestern. We will build on our new activities, including DevLab and our two new graduate programs that have contributed to the strength of the school. We will further strengthen our research enterprise, where, in the past year alone, we have increased awards by 17% and expenditures by an impressive 26%. Following the results of our past efforts that improved by a collective four places our departmental national rankings and that improved our ranking by recruiters by eight places, we will seek even greater external recognition of the impressive strength of McCormick.
We will build on successful fund raising efforts, such as the $10 million gift for the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center (FMCEDC) and the multi-million dollar PACE gift that set Northwestern records. Outreach efforts to alumni, corporations, and venture capitalists will continue to increase awareness of McCormick's many strengths. Staff and administration will work together further to improve communication throughout the McCormick community.
At the same time, over the next year and a half, we must work together to consolidate our work thus far in reaching long-term goals of the School: to create an integrated design curriculum that crosses all years and disciplines; to bring the FMCEDC to fruition; to attract the highest quality faculty who will link across departments and build our core technology areas; and to become the first choice of students, faculty, and staff.
Thank you for your many contributions to McCormick. I look forward to working with you as we continue our journey.