From the Dean - Diversity is our greatest strength

Common bonds of education and research

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In the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, we are lucky to have so many people connected by the common bonds of education and research.

Beyond the growing number of students, faculty and staff, many different backgrounds, heritages and points of view are represented. The diversity of our people who work, discover and learn together here gives the Watson School an edge in preparing future engineers and computer scientists for the global workforce. The ethnic diversity that is intrinsic to the Watson School, combined with the impact of having over 55 nations represented within it, has provided for an excellent academic environment that fosters diversity in thought.

I’m sure many of you reading this have heard the phrase “It takes a village.” We have a similar way of thinking about how we educate students in the Watson School. We use the combined and diverse expertise of every staff and faculty member here to educate each student.

Our faculty numbers have increased over the past decade, growing from 86 in 2006 to our current 123. These faculty are shaping the experiences of our growing student body. Overall, enrollment has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and we now have more than 1,100 graduate and nearly 2,000 undergraduate students in our classrooms and labs.

These students — the future of engineering and computer science — are learning to think outside the box, to solve problems large and small.

I encourage you to share in some of their stories in this edition of Watson Review.

Begin by learning about graduating senior Katie Leenig and her diverse passions, including singing, dancing and, of course, engineering.

Read about three professionals from different backgrounds in our libraries on campus — including a Watson alumnus — who are collaborating with current Watson students on the next generation of preservation and presentation of texts with the Magic Book.

Also read about Howard Pattee, one of the Watson School’s founding faculty members, who recently and generously committed to the financial well-being of our school. I am humbled when I learn of these kinds of gifts that make what we do here possible.

Finally, learn more about cutting-edge research coming out of our laboratories. The findings of many of these projects reflect the diverse interests that our faculty have beyond the classroom. Our faculty are working to make information safer online, to develop new computer chips to run machines more efficiently, to measure the strength of nanotube interfaces to usher in a new era of building materials, and to form new pedagogical systems to share the concept of networks.

These are just a few examples from this past academic year.

Our faculty, students and alumni are continuously advancing our knowledge in biomedical, mechanical, and electrical and computer engineering fields, as well as in systems science and industrial engineering, materials engineering and computer science.

Together we are a team composed of a rainbow of people with a passion for what we do and a commitment to attain excellence at all levels.

Please enjoy this issue of Watson Review.

Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari
Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science