From the Dean: September 2021

Dear Purdue Engineering Community,

As I have run into many students on campus over the last several weeks, I am constantly reminded of the mission of a university to make residential learning extraordinary. This also includes all 4,662 graduate students: both master’s degree students (with thesis, without thesis, and professional master’s degrees) and PhD students. This year we had one of the most selective cohorts of graduate students in history, and they come from many states and many countries. As highlighted at the Military Appreciation Football Game last Saturday, the graduate program also welcomed the largest cohort of young men and women in uniform.

While undergraduate admissions and enrollment are decided centrally by the University, most of the teaching and advising responsibilities are shouldered by the College’s faculty, staff, and TAs. If there are not sufficient resources or creative pedagogy, we run the risk of missing some of the individual attention to each student. We hope to do everything we can in the College to ensure the highest quality of learning. As one example, several schools recently have started agile reform of curriculum. In the School of Mechanical Engineering, the new curriculum provides additional choices of ME elective courses and greater flexibility in selecting electives to align with each student’s interest, updates the design-manufacturing sequence, and expands undergraduate research opportunities and participation in the VIP and Milestone programs.

Next Monday through Wednesday will be the 2021 Industrial Roundtable, the largest student-run career fair in the country. In addition, there are students interested in entrepreneurial pursuit, such as Joseph Watkins, who, as an ECE student here several years ago, co-founded with fellow Boilermakers Yarkin Sakucoglu and Alihan Ozbayrak a startup company called Socio, which was recently acquired by Cisco to transform virtual events. As part of our support to entrepreneurial faculty, students and alumni, we have developed substantial programs in West Lafayette, in Indianapolis, and in Silicon Valley (check out the John Martinson Engineering Entrepreneurship location at 635 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA).

We also appreciate that excellence in research comes in different forms and over a vast vista of intellectual landscape, including those highlighted in University or College strategic directions, such as national security technologies, digital agriculture, autonomous connected systems, healthcare technology, and space exploration, but also many other areas in the physical, virtual, or physical-virtual interface of engineering disciplines. A snapshot of these varied topics can be found in the resumed in-person Purdue Engineering Distinguished Lecturer series.

Later this month, we look forward to the dedication of the new ABE building on 9/25. The cornerstone of our 18-building/renovation Engineering Campus Plan, the Gateway Complex consisting of Dudley Hall and Lambertus Hall, is also on schedule for completion by the end of next year, bringing direct or indirect benefits to 7 Schools in the College.

As before, I will hold town halls with undergraduate and graduate students this semester, starting with October 1, 3-4pm, and will continue office hours for faculty, staff and students every month, including September 15, 2:30-3:30 pm and October 6, 3:00-4:00 pm. I look forward to seeing you!


Mung Chiang
John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering
Roscoe H. George Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Purdue University