Jim Plummer, who has been dean of the Stanford School of Engineering for almost 15 years, announced that he will step down next summer.
"I have been privileged to serve as dean and to work with some of the best faculty, staff and students in the world, but it is time for me and the School of Engineering to move on," Plummer stated in a press release. "Change is good. It is good for people and it is good for institutions."
Plummer has served as dean since September 1999. Since then, the nine-department school has grown significantly, with the addition of programs such as the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), the Global Climate and Energy Project (a research effort focused on technologies that will fuel sustainable global energy growth) and the Bioengineering Department, which was created in 2002.
The percentage of Stanford undergraduates choosing engineering majors has also significantly increased during Plummer's time as dean, rising from an historical average of 20 percent to almost 35 percent, with most of the increase occurring in computer science, product design and other new programs such as bioengineering, according to a press release.
During Plummer's tenure, the engineering school has been improved physically, too, with revamped facilities and the construction of the Science and Engineering Quad, slated to be finished in 2014.
Plummer said he plans to take a year-long sabbatical and then return to his academic roots: research and teaching in the Electrical Engineering Department. Plummer earned his master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at Stanford and stayed on as a department professor. Before he was appointed dean, Plummer served as chair of the Electrical Engineering Department. He succeeded John Hennessy as dean in 1999, when Hennessy was appointed provost and later president of the university.
Stanford Provost John Etchemendy will appoint a search committee this fall to find a new dean.