Dean's Message

A stronger, ever more relevant Jacobs School of Engineering

December 2020

Albert P. Pisano

As we fight hard to weather the pandemic, we continue to build momentum. This momentum is necessary, but not sufficient. The real question is: How will the Jacobs School of Engineering emerge on the other side of the pandemic? The ground has shifted in many ways, and it's up to us to respond, evolve and adapt.

As we build momentum (details at the end my note), there are two high-level moves we are also making. These moves are designed to ensure the Jacobs School emerges more ready than ever to confront the challenges, injustices, and societal and innovation needs laid bare in 2020.

First, we have initiated and strengthened a series of culture-building programs. The goal is to ensure that we empower all of our students, faculty and staff to do the creative and innovative technical work they are so capable of. (I list out some of these programs below.)

Second, we are facilitating critical national and international conversations on research. In particular, how academia, industry and government can partner and collaborate in new ways. The goal is to build on the existing research enterprise in order to increase the pull through of innovation to society. We will do this by training an ever more diverse and empowered innovation workforce. I've mentioned this work before, and I will keep returning to it in 2021.

We are able to engage in this future-focused work in these difficult times thanks to the hard work of so many people here at UC San Diego. I am proud and thankful to be a fully integrated partner in the campus-wide Return to Learn Program, which is an effort to protect the health and safety of students, staff and faculty while maintaining momentum.  

Framed by our work on culture building and more effective research partnerships, I'm pleased and humbled to share some of the momentum we've built this year and over the last handful of years. I offer my deepest gratitude to everyone in our Jacobs School community.

World-class faculty
We have hired more than 130 new faculty into the Jacobs School over the last 7 years. More than 36% of these new professors are women and/or from other groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering and computer science.

Growing research enterprise
At $212M, our research expenditures are up 34% over the last 5 years.

Rising reputation
We jumped to #9 in the nation this year, in the closely watched US News and World Report Best Engineering Schools rankings. This is up from #17 just four years ago.

Innovation workforce
We have awarded nearly 15,000 Jacobs School degrees over the last 6 years. More than 9,170 talented students enrolled in Fall 2020.

Research relevance
We have launched 14 new agile research centers and institutes since 2014 to drive deeper and more relevant collaborations that tackle the fundamental challenges no research lab or company can solve alone.

Franklin Antonio Hall
We are on schedule for our 2022 opening of Franklin Antonio Hall. Our new building will serve as a model for how to build innovation ecosystems with physical roots and virtual infrastructure with national and international impact. This is how engineering for the public good will get done in the future.

Culture building
As I mentioned above, we are working hard to build a school culture where every student, staff member and professor is empowered to bring their whole self to the classroom, lab, office, and screen. Just this year, we launched the Student and Faculty Racial Equity Task Force; the Racial Equity Fellows Program; the Jacobs School Research Ethics Initiative; and the Jacobs School Anthropology, Performance, and Technology Program. The Jacobs School is a key part of the new Changemaker Institute at UC San Diego. We are also celebrating 10 years of the IDEA Engineering Student Center; and we are proud to be collaborating with our UC San Diego Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

I am grateful to everyone helping to achieve these accomplishments and the many others I don't have room to mention here. A few of our Jacobs School wins are captured in this video.

I wish you peace and rest over the holidays. I look forward to joining you in 2021 to tackle the next set of challenges. As always, I can be reached at

~Albert P. Pisano, Dean
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering