Niaz Latif to Lead New Initiatives in Commercialization and Research

April 26, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share that Niaz Latif, an accomplished academic leader who currently serves as dean of the College of Technology (COT) and executive director of the Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC), will step down from his role with COT on June 30, 2023. I am pleased to announce that Niaz will remain with Purdue Northwest and assume oversight of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the future Roberts Impact Lab, and commercialization efforts centered at CMEC, where he will continue to serve as executive director.

Since joining PNW in 2007, Niaz has been responsible for bringing in a combined $15 million in grants from internal and external sources, including major grants from the National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Department of Labor. Most recently, he led the successful application for more than $700,000 in funding through Lilly Endowment Inc. to greatly expand PNW’s summer camp offerings for youths.

As a PI and Co-PI, Niaz has received a total of $5 million in Federal grants.  In addition, he raised more than $4 million in private gifts from donors to establish new laboratories and centers, including: the David Roberts Center for Innovation and Design; CMEC; the future Roberts Impact Lab; labs for the Construction Engineering and Management Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Mechatronics Engineering Technology programs; a fluid power lab and a robotics lab.

Under Niaz’s leadership, the College of Technology has been recognized as the Best University for a Technology Degree by Northwest Indiana Business magazine for 14 consecutive years. The college has added five degree programs, notably including the Doctor of Technology (DTech) and BS in Cybersecurity, approved last year, recruited an increasingly diverse student population, and increased retention.

Niaz has twice held additional leadership roles while serving concurrently as dean of Technology: interim associate vice chancellor of Research and Graduate Studies (2008-2012) and interim dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences (2020-2021). He also served as PNW’s interim provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs in 2019-2020.

Niaz has been a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) since 2018. He has been recognized by his alma mater, South Dakota State University, as a Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Engineer and received the Frederick J. Berger Award for programmatic and individual excellence in engineering technology education from ASEE. He is a past honoree as Outstanding Administrative Leader of PNW.

Please join me in thanking Niaz for his outstanding service to the College of Technology and wishing him well in his new role.

Mohammad Zahraee will serve as interim dean of the College of Technology effective July 1. Mohammad currently serves as associate dean of the College and has chaired multiple departments during his more than 30 years with PNW. His experience and his dedication to students will continue to move the College of Technology forward.


Kenneth "Chris" Holford

Kenneth C. Holford
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs