Northwestern to hire 20 faculty members in computer science

Peter Kotecki, Development and Recruitment Editor

Northwestern will hire 20 new faculty members as part of a roughly $150 million effort to expand its computer science program, the University announced on Wednesday.

Half of the new professors will teach core computer science courses, while the other half will collaborate with faculty in other disciplines, according to a news release.

University President Morton Schapiro said the changes are an investment in the university’s future, as computer science has become a foundation of many students’ educations. Faculty are also using computational thinking more often, he said.

“It is important for Northwestern to continue to enable new paths for exploration,” Schapiro said in the news release. “The time is right to make this commitment.”

The number of computer science majors at NU has more than tripled in the last five years, and enrollments in computer science courses has more than doubled, according to the release.

Provost Dan Linzer said the investment in computer science will have far-reaching implications.

“Through this investment, computer science at Northwestern will meet the challenge of ensuring students have the necessary skills they need to do great things in the world,” Linzer said in the release.

Certain NU professors already work at the intersection of computer science and other fields, such as journalism and music. As part of the University’s investment, some of the faculty hires will work as a part of new collaborations between different fields.

McCormick Dean Julio Ottino said areas such as economics, medicine, art and political science can benefit from the use of computer science in research. Computer science is powerful because it is able to accelerate research exponentially in many areas, he said.

“The possibilities are endless,” Ottino said in the release.