Building an Infrastructure for the Future
As you know, I will step down as Dean of the Jacobs
School of Engineering on July 1st. These past eight and a half years have
been an incredible ride for the School and for me. I’d like to take this
opportunity to say “Thank You” to all of you for supporting us so strongly.
The Jacobs School is now counted among the best engineering schools in
the nation, and this is due to the quality of our people, the support
of our friends, and the programs we’ve built together.
Over this past decade, we have also created a very strong infrastructure
that will ensure the future success of the Jacobs School. Nowhere else
in the country is there an engineering school with the reputation we have,
with the partnerships we have with industry, and with the plans we have
for growth over the coming decade. We remain the opportunity for engineering
in the country.
Our strategy has been to invest in focus areas where we can lead and make
a difference for our region and our nation. One of our early successes
was our Center for Wireless Communications, established in February 1995.
This Center now serves as a model for how focused, productive academic-industry
research collaboration can fuel long term innovation. Building on this
success, we formed the California Institute for Telecommunications and
Information Technology, which now includes more than 50 corporate members,
220 faculty, $100 million in state funding, and more than $200 million
in private support.
We also realized that to be a great engineering school, we had to grow
in size and scope. Over the past nine years we’ve increased the size of
our faculty by 60%, increased undergraduate student enrollment by 37%,
and increased graduate enrollment by 70%. We are now about two-thirds
of the way towards our steady state size of 250 faculty, 4,500 undergraduates
and 1,500 graduate students.
To build a great institution, you must have an extraordinary faculty.
This has been UCSD’s trademark since its beginning and the secret to our
phenomenal success. We at the Jacobs School have worked diligently to
live up to this tradition. Approximately 55 faculty joined us over the
past decade, each one a leader in his or her field. And I expect that
by this fall 10 to 15 new faculty will have joined the School. You can
read more about one of our exciting new hires, Songho Jin, on page 9 of
this newsletter. Songho is a member of the National Academy of Engineering
and a world leader in materials science and nanotechnology.
External support has been critical for us, and there are no greater friends
of the School than Irwin and Joan Jacobs. In 1998, they provided a generous
endowment gift that has provided us the resources we need to attract some
of the most sought after faculty in the nation. Their recent gifts have
also supported scholarships and fellowships for students, allowing us
to compete for the very best students in California and the world.
Two foundations who have made a lasting impact on the School are the Whitaker
Foundation and the Charles Lee Powell Foundation. The Whitaker Foundation
provided generous support over the years which helped us build our top-ranked
bioengineering department. The Powell Foundation has stepped up over and
over again to support faculty research, student fellowships, equipment,
and construction of our worldfamous Charles Lee Powell Structural Research
Laboratories. Most recently, these foundations, as well as the people
of California, have made important investments in the physical infrastructure
of the School.
Last month we broke ground on two new buildings, one for our Computer
Science and Engineering Department and one for Cal-(IT)² , both made
possible by state funding. This fall, we open the doors to our new Powell-Focht
Bioengineering Hall, made possible by support from the Whitaker Foundation,
the Powell Foundation and the William J. von Liebig Foundation. Taken
together, these facilities are adding 450,000 square feet for research
I must of course thank our wonderful Corporate Affiliates Program members,
some of whom have partnered with the School for well over two decades.
This program serves as the foundation of our efforts to build partnerships
between companies and their engineers, and the Jacobs School and its faculty
and students. The program has grown tremendously and, together with our
research centers, has yielded partnerships with close to 80 companies.
Finally, I must acknowledge and thank our supporters —individuals and
families, foundations, and corporations —whose gifts large and small have
enabled what we have accomplished. Altogether, more than $145 million
has been donated to the School over the past nine years, one of the strongest
outpourings of support for engineering in the nation.
As I conclude my term as Dean, I am very pleased that my colleague and
fellow NAE member, Professor Frieder Seible, has agreed to serve as Acting
Dean for the Jacobs School during the period when the campus conducts
its search for the next Dean. Last fall, Frieder agreed to serve as our
Executive Associate Dean, and since then he has become my partner in leading
the School forward. From knowing him, and now working with him daily,
I know he will provide wise and dynamic leadership, ensuring that we will
not miss a beat going forward.
We should all be proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am
absolutely confident that the best for the Jacobs School is yet to come.
Thank You ,
||Bob Conn, Dean