Ken Christensen appointed Dean of Illinois Tech’s Armour College of Engineering


Kenneth T. Christensen has been named the Carol and Ed Kaplan Dean of Armour College of Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech).

Christensen is the Viola D. Hank Professor and Chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, with a joint appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences.

He will begin his new role at Illinois Tech on December 1, 2020.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead an engineering college at Illinois Tech that is well positioned for unique growth and impact,” said Christensen. “Illinois Tech will be a driving force in Chicago’s continued rise as a global technology and innovation hub.”

Christensen joined the Notre Dame faculty in August 2014, and he has served as assistant dean for faculty development and a provost fellow. His research expertise is in experimental fluid mechanics, with an emphasis on flows central to a range of energy, environmental, and geophysical applications.

He has prioritized efforts at Notre Dame to cultivate industry partnerships to bring innovation and industry-relevant experiences to students and to enhance research opportunities and spur regional economic development.

“Ken is a world-class academic leader with a proven track record in innovation, collaboration, and a passion for student success — a perfect fit for Armour,” said Peter Kilpatrick, Illinois Tech’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“We look forward to working with Ken as we build upon the legacy of student success at Armour College of Engineering,” said Alan W. Cramb, Illinois Tech’s president.

Prior to Notre Dame, Christensen was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of New Mexico. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Caltech, and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois.

The author of 190 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, he is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“My years at Notre Dame have been some of the most stimulating and enjoyable years of my professional career, both as an individual faculty member and as someone lucky enough to serve in a leadership role for such an excellent department,” Christensen said.

“The Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering is well-positioned to continue its growth in visibility and impact, and I will take great pride in watching that unfold from afar.”

"Ken Christensen has been an innovative and impactful leader in the College of Engineering and at Notre Dame — highly respected and admired by his colleagues," said Thomas Fuja, interim dean of Notre Dame’s College of Engineering. "We thank him and Iook forward to watching him do great things at Illinois Tech."

Originally published by Nina Welding at on June 29, 2020.