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Northwestern University Engineering Dean Ottino Earns 2017 Gordon Prize
The 2017 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education is going to Julio M. Ottino, the dean of Northwestern University’s Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, according to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
According to NAE, Ottino earned the prize “for an educational paradigm that merges analytical, rational left-brain skills with creative, expansive right-brain skills to develop engineering leaders.”
The $500,000 annual award, established in 2001, recognizes new methods and concepts in education aimed at developing engineering leaders.
The Gordon Prize ceremony is set for May 30 at Northwestern University.
“I’m pleased to recognize Julio Ottino for his transformational program at Northwestern University,” notes NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. “Julio is the personification of a leader who’s preparing the next generation of engineers to tackle society’s greatest challenges.”
Ottino led the development of Whole-Brain Engineering at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering. A guiding strategy for the school, Whole-Brain Engineering focuses on integrating the analytical and technical components of engineering with creativity, design and divergent thinking via programs that span and connect students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
By augmenting existing programs and developing new initiatives to complement an already strong technical curriculum, the school provides a better student experience, prepares engineers to have a bigger impact and imagine new possibilities, and attracts more students into STEM fields.
The school has also developed collaborations with other schools and programs on campus, increasing the centrality of engineering within a comprehensive university. Many new courses gather students from many disciplines, as well as from partnering institutions such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since making Whole-Brain Engineering the cornerstone of Northwestern Engineering’s strategy, the number of women in the school increased by more than 60 percent, and engineering enrollments are at all-time high levels.
In addition to his role as dean, Ottino serves as Distinguished Robert R. McCormick Institute Professor, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and professor (by courtesy) of mechanical engineering. He previously held positions at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as chair and senior appointments at the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
Ottino is a member of both NAE and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’s the founder and former director of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). He’s also supervised more than 50 Ph.D. theses.
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