Dean's Message

Practice at Scale

March 2022

Albert P. Pisano

In my last two messages, I wrote about how important it is for engineering and computer science students to "Learn the Math that Matters" and "Find your Why." The third leg of this stool for stepping up into the innovation workforce is practice.

We don't talk enough about practice. In particular, we don't talk enough about what we could achieve as a country if we leaned into the notion of practice at scale

I'm focused on practice at scale because, if we do it right, we can:

*Improve outcomes and diversify engineering and computer science education
*Make and keep US industries competitive in the global marketplace
*Capture ever more benefits from US Federal investments in research 

As part of my efforts to get practice at scale onto the national agenda, I've written an article entitled, "A More Effective Innovation Practice" which just appeared in Issues in Science and Technology.  

The sub-headline makes the connections between opportunities for individual students and opportunities for the nation:

Practice-focused innovation centers could help the United States translate federally funded research into tomorrow’s essential technologies. 

In the article, I use future wireless technologies to illustrate what's possible when we build virtual and physical infrastructure that empowers nation-wide, pre-competitive practice of emerging wireless technologies.

My call to double down on practice for developing future wireless technologies aligns with what UIUC Engineering Professor William S. Hammack and National Academy of Engineering (NAE) President John L. Anderson write in a recent article in Issues of Science and Technology in which they call for a deeper understanding of engineering in order to harness innovation to achieve the nation's goals. 

Below is the final paragraph of my piece, but I hope you will read the entire article. (It's a six-minute read.)

"Built correctly, these practice-focused research ecosystems will create rich, dynamic virtual platforms with physical roots. They will create opportunities in which students of all levels as well as seasoned researchers in industry, government, and academia can interact. The nation will possess networked, virtualized research infrastructure that is specifically designed to encourage learning and engagement through practice. This vision is a blueprint for a more equitable and prosperous future in which anyone across the country has entry points to practice creating innovations. Moreover, policymakers will have found ways to build and rebuild America’s innovation-driven industrial ecosystems. This is practice as policy."

Read the full March 2022 news email.
As always, I can be reached at

Albert ("Al") P. Pisano, Dean
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering