On July 1, the New Jersey Institute of Technology will have a person of color at its helm for the first time.
The NJIT board of trustees announced Teik Lim as the school’s ninth president on Jan. 5.
Lim’s appointment follows a national search, and unanimous approval from the board; he will also be appointed as a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering.
Lim currently serves as interim president of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he is also a professor within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
“The appointment of Dr. Lim as NJIT’s next president is the result of his emergence from an exceptionally talented pool of candidates,” said Robert Cohen, chair of the NJIT board of trustees. “Teik has incredibly impressive credentials as a scholar and senior administrator … He has a clear understanding of what NJIT is about, who we serve, and what we need to do to continue the upward trajectory of this great university. I and the entire board enthusiastically welcome Dr. Lim to NJIT and are excited to work with him in the years ahead.”
Lim will take over from Joel Bloom, who announced last March that he would step down from the role on June 30, 2022. Bloom has held the position for 11 years, and spent another 19 at NJIT as vice president and founding dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College.
“My wife, Gina, and I are ecstatic to be joining the NJIT community, and we are excited about the opportunities and challenges that await us,” Lim said. “It truly is an honor to be selected to lead such an important institution into the future. NJIT has been on an amazing trajectory and is fortunate to have a very forward-thinking and collaborative board of trustees as well as a strong commitment to social mobility. These facets as well as NJIT’s position as a top public polytechnic research university drew me to this opportunity.”
NJIT is one of 35 polytechnic universities in the U.S. In September, the school was among nine from the state named to The Princeton Review’s “The Best 387 Colleges.”
And, according to NJIT, the school is one of the most diverse in the country. Of all degrees awarded to African American and Hispanic students by New Jersey public institutions, 62% are from NJIT.
NJIT said Lim intends to revamp the school’s strategic plan to incorporate lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to embrace higher education’s current digital revolution.
He also plans to use NJIT’s setting – in Newark, the state’s largest city – to establish private-public partnerships to benefit students’ education and experience.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said he looked forward to working with Lim. “I recently met with Dr. Lim and am excited about his intent to continue building upon the already strong relationship between the City of Newark, our residents, and NJIT,” the mayor said. “Dr. Lim has an extensive background as an academic, an innovator, and a leader, and I welcome him to Newark and to NJIT.”
Lim has guided UTA through the pandemic, while also recording increases in student access metrics like degree attainment, student population diversity and graduation rates, according to NJIT. He led efforts at the school to achieve Texas Tier One status, making it just the fourth in the state to earn the distinction for elite national research institutions.
Before his stint at the head of UTA, Lim was provost and vice president for academic affairs there from 2017 to 2020. Before joining UTA, he held both academic and administrative appointments over approximately 15 years at University of Cincinnati. He left there as the dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
NJIT noted Lim’s record of enhancing external engagements throughout his career. At UTA, for example, his tenure was marked by increased philanthropy to the school, along with new research and career services partnerships. At Cincinnati, Lim teamed with Procter & Gamble to found the UC Simulation Center, which was recognized with the P&G Connect+Develop private/public partnership award. He also created the Joint Engineering Co-op Institute in partnership with Chongqing University.
The 20-person NJIT presidential search committee – representing the board of trustees, board of overseers, faculty, alumni, students and senior administration – worked with professional search firm Isaacson Miller to attract candidates for the role. The school said it also welcomed input from the NJIT community at large, through open forums and other methods, to help develop a presidential profile.
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