Illinois Tech Appoints Kenneth T. Christensen as Provost


Kenneth T. Christensen, Illinois Institute of Technology Provost

Illinois Institute of Technology announced on June 1, 2023, that Kenneth T. Christensen will officially assume the role of the university’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Christensen has been serving as Illinois Tech’s interim provost. 

“Ken has been an exceptional interim provost, leading the university through continued growth in enrollment, the launch of groundbreaking new degree programs with Coursera, and the establishment of important new research and workforce initiatives, such as our partnership with DMG MORI to create a new national center for advanced manufacturing,” says Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi. “He has an excellent mix of vision and practical experience, combining the strategic planning and institutional expertise needed to help Illinois Tech continue to grow and thrive.”

Christensen first joined Illinois Tech in November 2020 as the Carol and Ed Kaplan Armour College Dean of Engineering Endowed Chair. He joined the university from the University of Notre Dame, where he held prominent positions including the Viola D. Hank Professor and chair of the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. He has a strong record in both leadership roles and research accomplishments.

During his time as interim provost, Christensen has successfully guided the university through a period of sustained growth and enrollment, including the launch of innovative degree programs with Coursera and forging strategic partnerships such as the alliance with DMG MORI to create a new national center for advanced manufacturing; the Midwest Semiconductor Network; the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2); and Chicago ARC, an initiative to enable market-driven, scalable solutions to address health inequities. As provost, he will continue to oversee key research initiatives, cultivate strategic partnerships, and promote academic offerings that create new revenue streams and expand the university’s reach.

Christensen has authored more than 200 archival journal articles, book chapters, and peer-reviewed conference proceedings. His research focuses on complex interactions within various engineering systems, such as flow interactions with complex bedforms and multi-phase flow within heterogeneous porous structures.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve as provost, and I am deeply committed to the mission of advancing technology and innovation for all,” Christensen says. “I am also inspired by our plans for continued growth at Illinois Tech, broadening the impact of our mission by dramatically expanding the number of students we serve.”

Christensen holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Caltech, and a doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.