Lim named next president of NJIT

Renowned STEM scholar (he has Ph.D. in mechanical engineering) currently serves as interim president at Texas-Arlington

Teik C. Lim, a renowned STEM scholar and longtime leader in higher education, will replace Joel Bloom as president of New Jersey Institute of Technology — beginning July 1 — the school announced Wednesday afternoon.

Lim, who also will be appointed as a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, presently serves as the interim president of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he also serves as a professor within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Prior to assuming the interim presidency at UTA, Lim was the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2017-20. Before joining UTA, Lim spent approximately 15 years at the University of Cincinnati, where he held both academic and administrative appointments, the last of which was as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Robert Cohen, chair of NJIT’s board of trustees, said Lim emerged from a large pool of candidates over a nationwide search this past year.

“Teik has incredibly impressive credentials as a scholar and senior administrator, including having most recently served as the interim president of the University of Texas at Arlington,” Cohen said. “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, the school’s ninth president, will have big shoes to fill.

He succeeds Bloom, who is widely credited with building NJIT into what it is today: one of the finest STEM schools in the country. Bloom served as university president the past 11 years. He also was a vice president for 19 years — and was the founding dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College.

Lim, during his time as interim president at UTA, guided the university through the COVID-19 pandemic while driving increases in student success metrics such as degree attainment, student population diversity and graduation rates. He also led the effort to achieve Texas Tier One status, making UTA only the fourth institution in Texas to earn this distinction reserved for elite national research institutions.

Lim also has made his mark as a scholar. He has published 158 refereed journal papers, presented 94 refereed conference proceedings and delivered nearly 140 conference presentations and invited lectures or seminars. He has been awarded approximately $20 million in funding of research contracts and grants.

Lim is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers International, as well as a Licensed Professional Engineer.

Lim said he will bring “a laser focus on continuing NJIT’s ascendance as a preeminent public polytechnic research university in the region and globally, with intense focus on student success and access, as well as academic and research excellence.”

He listed the following among his priorities:

  • A refresh of NJIT’s strategic plan to reflect the new circumstances created by and lessons learned through the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • An embrace of the digital revolution occurring right now in higher education;
  • Using NJIT’s location in a highly industrialized setting to create mutually beneficial private-public partnerships that will enrich the experience and education of students.

He also cited diversity as a strength that will continue to help NJIT flourish.

Connecting to business

While working at the University of Cincinnati, incoming New Jersey Institute of Technology President Teik C. Lim founded the UC Simulation Center in collaboration with Procter & Gamble. This became one of the largest interdisciplinary university-industry research centers on campus and received the P&G Connect+Develop private-public partnership award.

Lim also created the Joint Engineering Co-op Institute in partnership with Chongqing University.

Lim will be the first person of color to assume the presidency of NJIT, which is one of the most diverse universities in the U.S. NJIT is a Top 20 university nationally for producing African American and Hispanic engineers, and 62% of all engineering degrees awarded to African American and Hispanic students by New Jersey public institutions are awarded by NJIT.

Lim said he is eager to get started.

“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.”

Lim earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology) and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Ohio State University.

He said he is eager to put those skills to work.

“As an engineer who attended polytechnic universities for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, joining NJIT brings me back to my roots,” he said. “The chance to lead NJIT’s continuing growth into a preeminent public polytechnic research university is very appealing to me, as is the opportunity to work with the talented faculty, staff and students, many of whom are, like me, the first from their family to attend college.

“The impact of NJIT on its students as well as on the world through its innovative and entrepreneurial spirit is undeniable.”

His appointment pleased Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who has worked closely with Bloom and NJIT.

“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,” he said. “Dr. Lim has an extensive background as an academic, an innovator and a leader, and I welcome him to Newark and to NJIT. I look forward to working closely with him to further the university’s mission of excellence and innovation to students, learning, scholarly research, investments and our community.”

Gov. Phil Murphy also welcomed Lim.

“Dr. Lim’s scholarly achievements are extremely impressive, and his experience in leading a major public research university through much of the past two years has prepared him well for this opportunity,” he said. “NJIT, as our state’s public polytechnic university, plays a vital role in partnering with industry and with the state on critical issues, and also serves as an engine for the upward mobility of students from diverse backgrounds.

“Dr. Lim understands and appreciates the unique position NJIT occupies within New Jersey’s higher education ecosystem, and I am confident he will be a great addition to NJIT and to our state.”