As we embark on another academic year, I am pleased to report a number of positive developments for our College. We have grown in every aspect of our mission over the past year, with record enrollments, a new high in research productivity and an ever-growing number of high-impact outreach activities. Due to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, we have positioned ourselves as a top-performing College within the University and a critical part of the region's economic development. At the same time, we continue to pursue our strategic vision to achieve measurable national recognition as one of the best engineering colleges in our class.
As you will see in the pages that follow, the College has been a key contributor to research and educational programs that support Nevada's economic diversification and develop new technologies for our region and the nation. We are creating or expanding programs that address critical areas of our time such as cyber security, infrastructure, autonomous systems and renewable energy.
We are pleased to welcome nine new faculty to the College this year. These top researchers bring expertise in growing areas, including cyber security, advanced manufacturing and autonomous systems. We are also excited to have for the first time a faculty position in engineering education. This program is expected to add a new dimension to the pedagogical education of our graduate students, broaden the engineering knowledge of future teachers in the College of Education and impact the future of our K-12 youth.
This fall, we welcome a record enrollment of engineering students to our campus. Not only is our freshman class the largest in our history, it is also one of our most promising. We have record numbers of high-achieving students in the College, including both National Merit Finalists and Presidential Scholars.
Our graduates see high demand for their skills and look forward to exciting career prospects. The College's commitment to offering students a globally competitive education means they can compete for engineering jobs with graduates from universities around the world.
We continue to provide excellent services for our students, including a continually expanding Career and Internships Program, a dedicated Engineering Tutoring Center, and an advising team that has grown to include three professional advisors and a student mentor program.
The College has played a leading role in the establishment of the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center (NAASIC). This Center will be focused on reaching out to industry, economic development authorities and federal agencies to establish partnerships that contribute to the economic development of the State.
This growth is not without challenges, and our existing personnel and space resources have been pushed to capacity. The University will continue to grow rapidly in coming years, with significant increases in faculty and staff positions beginning in Fall 2015. The College of Engineering is planning for additional personnel as part of this growth.
We are also anticipating new resources with respect to space. The University has designated a new engineering building as its top capital improvement priority. We will soon embark on pre-design services, including scope, cost and schedule of this new building. In addition, $12 million has been allocated for strategic renovations of Scrugham Engineering and Mines and Palmer Engineering. These renovated buildings, along with the new building, will be part of a new engineering complex on campus.
As we seek to capitalize on our current momentum and sustain our growth in the future, we are grateful for your continued support of our College and our students. Your involvement and advice are important to us, and I invite you to contact me at any time with feedback or suggestions.
Dean of Engineering