Greetings UMass Engineering Community:
We are really here! After a year and a half of grappling with the impacts of a global pandemic, we are once again able to enjoy our vibrant campus and resume in-person events and classes. I am thrilled to welcome you all to the Fall 2021 semester, especially those who are newly joining our dynamic engineering community.
To kick off the academic year, the college is hosting welcome events under a tent in our engineering quad in front of Marston Hall. Please make time to stop by. The schedule of events is as follows:
Undergraduates/ All-College Welcome — Thursday, September 9, 9:45am – 4pm
Student societies and design teams, and college support offices will have tables throughout the day. And there will be opportunities to meet some of your professors and instructors outside of class. Learn more here.
Graduate student networking reception — Thursday, September 9th, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
An opportunity for engineering graduate students from across the College to connect and socialize.
Faculty and staff welcome back reception – Friday, September 10, 3:30 – 6:30pm
I am also pleased to share several exciting new developments for the college with you —
We are pleased to release our new college strategic plan, “Revolutionary Engineering – 2025 and beyond” which shares our bold vision for the College of Engineering. This plan reflects our core values, captures our extraordinary potential, and affirms our direction as we look to the future.
We have received the green light to begin the planning and fundraising phases for a new engineering building – a living laboratory focused on sustainable engineering. Under consideration is the site between Knowles and Draper, but other sites may emerge as the project develops. We envision a state-of-the-art laboratory and experiential learning facility that fosters collaborative research in areas such as equitable clean energy transition, sustainable materials, and smart infrastructure. Of course, it will be several years before we see significant construction underway, but this is an important milestone for the college, nonetheless.
We are in the process of launching a new Industry Partnership Program (IPP), to foster deep, holistic long-term partnerships with organizations interested in connecting with faculty around emerging research and technologies, and those seeking to recruit and support our students through scholarships, experiential learning opportunities and employment at all levels.
There is a new track for our Dean’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Curriculum Challenge this fall. In addition to the theme of racial justice, we will now seek out creative ways to embed “inclusive design” into our lesson plans. Inclusive design is a methodology that enables and draws on the full range of human diversity. Thank you to all who participated last academic year, we had more than 65 submissions from 47 different faculty and will continue to leverage these efforts to enhance the curriculum. More details here.
The UMass Tech Challenge is a new addition to the UMass Innovation Challenge series of competitions. This STEM focused event invites students to showcase their innovative technologies and to perfect their elevator pitches, with $15,000 in seed money awarded to select teams as determined by the judges. It will be held on November 3. More details here or follow on Twitter.
UMass Amherst and Digital Ready, a Boston-based non-profit, have launched a groundbreaking new living learning lab to give talented, underrepresented young students from Boston Public Schools a no-cost head start to a STEM degree from UMass. The program kicks off this month on the Mount Ida Campus and will include cohort-specifics courses in engineering, as well as computer science, architecture, building construction technology, and math. More details here.
And there are many other opportunities to connect with members of our engineering community and to share your ideas and perspectives. These include:
Dean’s advisory groups: Self-nominate to serve on one of six groups that interact directly with me, providing input on college climate, direction, and areas we can improve. Learn more here.
Allies for Equity: An initiative that focuses on nurturing an equitable and an inclusive climate in the College. All faculty, staff and students interested in creating and nurturing an inclusive learning and working environment are highly encouraged to learn more and sign up here.
The Tang Lecture this year will feature Christine Seymour ’95 PhD — Director, Regulatory Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls, Pfizer Inc. Mark your calendar now for October 20, 4pm in the Old Chapel. More details here.
The 75th Anniversary celebration for the College of Engineering will occur in 2022, and planning is underway. We are seeking students, staff, and faculty volunteers for our steering committee. If you are interested, please email our college’s communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we navigate this semester back on campus, please remember, COVID-19 is still with us. Be sure to follow the most current campus policies and guidance and wear a mask where required to protect yourself and our larger campus community. And please prioritize your physical and mental health. Have patience with yourself and others as we all face many stressors. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for help in accessing a spectrum of college and campus resources.
I look forward to connecting with all of you as the academic year unfolds.
Be safe and well. Go UMass!
Dean, College of Engineering
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering