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Dean's Column

Ensuring the Engineering Talent Pipeline

Frieder Seible, Dean

At the recent Enspire event, our annual outreach to middle school students, I was encouraged to see hundreds of enthusiastic eighth graders gathered on Warren Mall (see cover) to celebrate their day spent on campus learning about engineering disciplines and engaging in hands-on projects. Such efforts are particularly important now, because our industry partners are telling us the demand for young engineers will increase dramatically in the next five years as the economy begins its upswing.

In addition to Enspire, which is organized by our Triton Engineering Student Council and our student organizations, another signature program we offer to attract young people to the field of engineering is COSMOS. This intensive month-long summer program for 165 high school students immerses participants in an engineering or science topic with both classroom and lab work. Approximately 83 percent of the participants go on to choose college majors in STEM fields.

With 5,500 students enrolled, the Jacobs School is the largest provider of engineering education in the State of California and we play a critical role in supplying the talent pipeline for the future. Our students are highly sought after by recruiters because of the emphasis we place on engineering fundamentals, teamwork and research.

Our graduates now enter a truly global workforce, and the ability to work with others cross-functionally and with an understanding of how other disciplines interact, is an essential skill. Through opportunities such as our Team Internship Program (TIP), which connects UCSD students with industry partners; and our Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) program, which has students working for non-profit community clients; our students are learning to assess society’s needs, and then apply their engineering skills to design solutions.

Students must not only learn how to work effectively in teams, they also must be prepared to lead. With the addition of the Gordon Engineering Leadership Center in 2009, the Jacobs School now offers active mentorship and instructional programs aimed at developing leadership skills for engineers (and aspiring engineers) of all levels.

Clearly, as a leading research engineering school, we are actively engaged in working with industry and government partners on innovation here on campus. Despite the recession, our research funding from industry continues to rise, and today approximately one-third of our $133 million annual research spending is sponsored by industry.

I invite you to meet our students and see their work first hand at our Research Expo on April 15 when more than 250 graduate students and dozens of undergraduate students will present their research results. We have highlighted just a few of the projects that will be presented at the Expo in this issue of Pulse.

While the Jacobs School plays an important role in the economic recovery, we face budget issues of our own due to cuts in State funding. I encourage all of our friends and alumni to voice your support for California’s education system as we continue to fulfill our mission of educating tomorrow’s technology leaders.

Frieder Seible

Frieder Seible

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