Dean's Welcome

Manos Maragakis

Dear Friends,

For several years, the College of Engineering has been working to achieve the vision laid out in our 2011 strategic plan. That vision sought to develop the College as a key institution for the growth and development of the University and a catalyst for economic diversification in the region. To achieve this vision, we developed plans to expand in key areas of research, education and outreach.

Now, after several years of working to achieve these measures, we are excited to see the fruits of our labor. We find ourselves in a period of spectacular growth in the College, with yet another record-breaking year for student enrollment this fall.

Over the past decade, our enrollment has grown more than 80%. This growth is a result of our systematic approach to preparing engineers for the workforce, which starts with outreach in the K-12 schools that focuses on building a pipeline of students who arrive at the University academically prepared for but also excited about majors in engineering.

Once our students arrive at the University, we focus on giving them a globally competitive education. We are also adding new programs for students, with an emphasis on teaching the specific skills sought by employers in rapidly growing technology industries. In addition to our minor in unmanned autonomous systems, launched in 2014, we added minors in cyber security and batteries and energy storage technologies this fall. Combined with the broad base of knowledge our students earn in their majors, these industry-relevant minors enable our graduates to compete for jobs in emerging and growing areas of engineering.

Our work, however, is not done. As growth continues, we face certain challenges. Rapidly increasing student enrollment requires additional faculty and more teaching space. We now have over 80 tenured or tenure-track faculty in the College and we are projecting to hire approximately 40 more tenure-track faculty in the next five years.

Much of our faculty growth has occurred based on a strategic approach that focuses on building interdisciplinary areas of strength in emerging and economically critical research areas. As part of these areas of focus, the College is adding faculty with expertise in autonomous systems, advanced manufacturing, high-performance computing, big data, cyber security and infrastructure.

We are also working closely with the University and our advisory board to create a new Engineering Complex. We have recently completed the preliminary design of this project, and you can learn more about those efforts in the pages that follow.

Our Distinguished Lecture Series continues this year with co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Tesla J.B. Straubel speaking on "Building a Clean Energy Future: Tesla and Nevada." This year's event has generated a great deal of interest in the community, and we are very proud to continue to bring speakers who address timely topics for our community.

The College of Engineering is committed to research, education and outreach that addresses important societal topics, and in the articles that follow, you will see many examples of how our researchers use unconventional approaches to push the envelope on the state-of-the-art in engineering. These imaginative ways of approaching engineering problems allow for new ways of thinking about design, technology and innovation, and they contribute to economic development at the same time as they encourage us all to think creatively about how engineers can contribute to societal improvements.

As always, alumni and community engagement with the College is crucial to our success. Many thanks for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Manos Maragakis
Dean of Engineering
maragaki@unr.edu