Tien to step down as dean of Case School of Engineering

After leading the Case School of Engineering since 2007, Dean Norman C. Tien has decided to step down from his post at the end of his current term, effective Dec. 31, 2011. The Nord Professor of Engineering and an Ohio Eminent Scholar in Physics, Tien will return to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as a full-time faculty member and resume research in the areas of micro- and nanotechnology, including microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as dean of a school with such a proud history and even greater aspirations,” Tien said. “We have made outstanding progress in such areas as energy and advanced materials, and I am confident that the future holds great promise for our faculty, staff and students.”

Tien’s term witnessed the launch of the Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) and the Institute for Advanced Materials, among other interdisciplinary initiatives. It also saw an expansion of the school’s global outreach, including an agreement with Tianjin University in China to enhance students’ educational experiences and another with the China National Offshore Oil Corp. to pursue new technology involving energy and the environment. The school has also experienced a surge in community support with $20 million in gifts and commitments raised in the past year—one of the highest fundraising years in its history.

“Dean Tien has a clear vision for engineering education and research in the 21st century,” said Provost and Executive Vice President W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III. “His advocacy of interdisciplinary institutes has helped advance that vision. We are grateful for his leadership, and wish him all the best in the next stage of his academic career.”

Tien came to Case Western Reserve in 2006 as the Nord Professor of Engineering and Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). In the latter role, he oversaw the opening of the state-of-the-art Sears Undergraduate Design Laboratory, made possible by a $6 million donation from Larry Sears and his wife, Sally Zlotnick Sears, both graduates of the university. The lab provides electrical engineering students a space to encourage creativity in hands-on design and entrepreneurial thinking. In addition to the new lab, Tien oversaw the building of new departmental facilities in EECS.

Before arriving at Case Western Reserve, Tien chaired the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California at Davis and also held an appointment at the University of California at Berkeley, where he co-directed the Sensor and Actuator Center. Earlier, he served on the engineering faculty at Cornell University. Tien received his doctorate from the University of California at San Diego, his Master of Science from the University of Illinois, and his Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.