Dean's Column

Albert Pisano

Experience Engineering

I am pleased to announce our new school-wide Experience Engineering Initiative. We will give each of our Jacobs School undergraduate students a hands-on or experiential engineering course or lab each and every year — starting freshman year.

All Jacobs School undergraduates are engineers from day one. Our new hands-on classes serve as “spring training” for future internships and full-time jobs. Early on, we must give our students many opportunities for “a-ha!” moments — experiences that help students generate the confidence and motivation they need to persevere and succeed in classes, internships and ultimately in engineering careers. In their first year, students should feel that they are meant to be engineers. They need experiences that translate into stories for family and friends about what exciting thing they designed and built. With the Experience Engineering Initiative, we give our students these opportunities through increasingly difficult real-world challenges that require them to integrate theory and practice. From personal teaching experience, I know that these kinds of hands-on classes propel undergraduates to higher levels of excellence in their coursework, research and internships.

Our first set of pilot courses for the Experience Engineering Initiative launched this past academic year. You can read about two of these great classes on page four of this issue of Pulse. During the upcoming academic year, we will roll out more pilot classes and ramp up the number of students in these courses.

The Initiative complements our extensive opportunities for hands-on engineering through student teams, competitions and organizations; service projects; internship programs and more. By practicing hands-on problem-solving inside and outside the classroom, our students learn to integrate engineering theory and practice well before they enter the workforce as interns or new hires.

Experiential classroom education has been important to the Jacobs School for decades, of course. But now, for the first time, we are taking these courses school-wide through a systematic and comprehensive four-year framework. The Initiative aligns with our mission to train tomorrow’s technology leaders — individuals who can implement engineering fundamentals in a team environment to solve problems facing society. And that’s exactly what we are doing in classrooms and labs across the Jacobs School.

As Dean, my job is to optimize the max-imum growth rate of our students’ theoret-ical and practical knowledge. I look forward to sharing our progress on the Experience Engineering Initiative and complementary projects we are developing. As always, you can reach me at

Albert Pisano Signature

Albert P. Pisano, Dean

Jacobs School of Engineering


  • Dean
    Albert P. Pisano
  • Associate Dean
    George Tynan
  • Associate Dean for Students
    Pamela Cosman
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Welfare
    Ahmed Elgamal
  • Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance
    Tana Troke Campana
  • Assistant Dean for Programs and Initiatives
    Denine Hagen


  • Bioengineering
    Geert W. Schmid-Schönbein, Chair
  • Computer Science and Engineering
    Rajesh Gupta, Chair
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Truong Nguyen, Chair
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    Vitali Nesterenko, Chair
  • NanoEngineering
    Joseph Wang, Chair
  • Structural Engineering
    P. Benson Shing, Chair


  • Chair: David Schwab, (B.A. ’79), Vertical Ventures
  • Vice Chair: John J. Fratamico, Jr., Leidos
  • Amir Abolfathi (B.S. ‘86) Sonitus Medical, Inc.
  • Joseph “Joe” Beery, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.
  • Claude Benchimol, Damol Technology Consulting
  • Linden S. Blue, General Atomics
  • Edward J. Brown, Jr., Cymer Light Source
  • Malin Burnham
  • Eugenio Clariond, Grupo Cuprum
  • Martha G. Dennis, Gordian Knot
  • Peter C. Farrell, ResMed
  • Kaigham (Ken) Gabriel, S.M., Ph.D., Charles Stark Draper Lab., Inc.
  • Steve Hart (M.A. ‘80), ViaSat, Inc.
  • Waguih Ishak, Corning, Inc.
  • Irwin M. Jacobs
  • Carmela A. Keeney, SSC Pacific
  • Richard Kornfeld, (B.S. ’82), Grid2Home
  • Thomas M. Loarie, Mercator MedSystems, Inc.
  • Bertram Lubin, M.D., UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • Scott McClendon, Overland Storage, Inc.
  • Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm Inc.
  • Henry “Hank” L. Nordhoff, Banyan Biomarkers Inc.
  • Bahram Nour-Omid, Shelter Capital Partners
  • Gregory M. Papadopoulos, (B.A. ’79), New Enterprise Associates
  • Ronald Reedy, (Ph.D. ’84), Peregrine Semiconductor
  • Andrew E. Senyei, M.D., Enterprise Partners Venture Capital
  • James H. Thompson, Qualcomm Technologies Inc.
  • Julie Meier Wright
  • Mark Zdeblick, Proteus Digital Health

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