AANHPI Heritage Month: An Interview with Teik C. Lim, FNAI

A graphic shows headshot of Teik C. Lim with the text “#AANHPIHeritage Month NAI celebrates Teik C. Lim, FNAI” followed by “President, New Jersey Institute of Technology”.As we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, read as Teik C. Lim, FNAI, President of NAI Member Institution New Jersey Institute of Technology, shares why he’s passionate about being an innovator as well as the importance of having diverse perspectives in creating innovations that benefit society.

Q: What words would you use to describe yourself?
A: Transparent, integrity, flexible, listener, learner, innovator and collaborator.
I am a micro-collaborator as opposed to a micromanager. I am very interested in understanding and learning about the creative work of others around me, and I stand ready to help innovate, but I do not try to micromanage their responsibilities and discoveries.

Q: Why are you passionate about being an innovator?
A: I am passionate about innovation because it gives me the opportunities to develop creative solutions to practical problems, to bring joy to living, and at the same time to expand human intellect.

Teik C. Lim, FNAI, stands on an escalator as he travels.
Teik C. Lim stands on an escalator as he travels.

Q: In your spare time, in addition to working in your field, what do you love to do?
A: Learning about nature and the wonders of our world, watching sci-fi movies, traveling, and spending time with my grandchildren.

Q: What do you feel is the importance of having diverse perspectives in creating innovations that benefit society?
A: As a professor, engineer, researcher, learner and innovator, I am here to serve humanity. Whether I am engaging with students, designing a product or system, or providing consulting services, I am doing this for people and society who are very diverse racially and demographically. Hence, if I am going to excel in my work, I better have a deeper understanding of humanity and its diversity.

Q: How do you feel institutions can encourage a sustainable and inclusive innovative ecosystem?
A: Promote inter-disciplinary collaborations (today it is not about publish or perish but collaborate or perish), infuse innovation and entrepreneurship into the curricula (i.e. pervasive innovation), build university-industry partnerships, and make high impact experiential learning part of the academic requirement. At New Jersey Institute of Technology, we are doing all of these as part of our Strategic Plan 2030 to become an Innovation Nexus that is a physical and intellectual focal point for ideas, actions, and people focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.

To read more about Dr. Lim and his work, visit: https://www.njit.edu/president/teik-lim