Dean's Newsletter November 2017
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. As we move into the final weeks of the semester and towards fall Commencement it gives me pause to think about the things we have accomplished and are working to accomplish in the new year. I’m reminded that we have a lot to be thankful for in the College of Engineering. Recently, I attended the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program annual meeting in Washington D.C. to meet with other engineering colleges participating in the initiative. It was exciting to discuss lessons learned and to hear about the creative ways universities around the world are implementing their grand challenge programs. I believe the U of I Grand Challenge Scholars Program has the potential to not only help our college grow, but to also set us apart as a college that provides students an exceptional experience while addressing the every-evolving needs of society. Now in its second year, our Grand Challenge Scholars Program has doubled in active student participation and I’m thankful for the support of our Academy of Engineers, industry partners, and alumni who invest in the program’s continued success. A key to providing a transformative education to our students is giving students opportunities to be involved in hands-on real-world experience. This is why I am thankful to our alumni, faculty and staff who supported our Vandal Giving Day and Crowd-Funding efforts over the past two years. Upwards of $50,000 has been raised and distributed to over fifteen college competition teams and U of I student chapters of professional engineering organizations. These groups, such as the U of I Humanitarian Engineering Corps, our SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge team, the U of I Chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery, and our ASCE Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe teams as well as several others provide our students unique experience to design, test and build projects using their technical skills outside of the classroom. These experiences allow our students to not only apply their education but help them develop social bonds and connections that will be invaluable in their professional lives. Most importantly, I’m thankful for our students who are hard-working, dedicated and willing to take on challenges to better themselves and their communities. They provide the inspiration for us to do all we can to insure their success. This is why we are actively engaged in creating a center within the college that will make a major impact on retention and success of our students. This student success center will be welcoming and highly visible and bring together essential student support staff into one location. The center will boost academic success and graduation rates by providing professional advising tailored to academic needs. We will offer students the resources to secure quality internships and employment through career counseling/mentoring. Ultimately we hope that the center will equip our students with skills essential for career readiness and academic excellence. It is our goal to have the center operational for the 2018-19 academic year; stay tuned.
Larry A. Stauffer
Dean, College of Engineering