September 7, 2016

Purdue Profiles: Niaz Latif

Niaz Latif Niaz Latif is not only the dean of the College of Technology at Purdue Northwest, but he also is a professor of mechanical engineering technology and a board member of the Engineering Technology Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. He is also the executive director of the Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center at Purdue University Northwest. Download image

Niaz Latif, dean of the College of Technology at Purdue University Northwest, wouldn't change a thing about his busy schedule.

He is not only the dean, but he also is a professor of mechanical engineering technology and a board member of the Engineering Technology Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. He is also the executive director of the Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center at Purdue Northwest.

How did you become interested in engineering education?

In high school I was always interested in math and science. I believed that these areas would give me good career options in biological science or physical science. Since I excelled in physics, I chose the field of engineering. 

My academic career began as an instructor of engineering at Louisiana State University-Eunice, then as an assistant and associate professor at Northern Kentucky University. In 1999, I was appointed professor and head of the Department of Industrial Technology on the West Lafayette campus and later served as an assistant dean for statewide technology administration. 

What is your role as dean of the College of Technology?

I am the chief administrative and academic leader of the College of Technology at Purdue Northwest. I maintain offices in both Hammond and Westville. In this role, I promote faculty teaching and scholarly work. Furthermore, I promote professional services through implementation of strategic plans designed to promote growth within the University and its greater community.

My other responsibilities include supervision of program assessments, new program development, innovative program delivery, program accreditation, faculty promotion and tenure process, budget management, internal operations and external relations. The College of Technology has three academic departments that offer seven Bachelor of Science degree programs and two master’s degree programs. It has 68 full-time faculty and staff, including 47 tenured/tenure-track faculty members and about 1250 students, including 126 graduate students. 

What do you consider to be the most important part of your job?

The most important thing is providing leadership to my team while working with them. My leadership style is to “lead by example." The tasks that I ask of my team, I do as well, by working side-by-side with them, listening to ideas and sharing their vision. This helps motivate them and builds teamwork. As the dean for the College of Technology, I have a strong passion for my work, and through my leadership, I strive to guide and support our faculty and staff through the processes of change within the institution, to encourage them to reach their potential and to celebrate their accomplishments. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy the wonderful experiences of collaborating with faculty in raising the standards of my college and the University. I find satisfaction in helping individuals to succeed. I have always been motivated by the opportunities that arise from challenges. I strive for excellence and continuously work to move the unit to the next level so that we are recognized as the best among our peers.

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, mhuckaby@purdue.edu


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