If I had to explain why faculty members and students are attracted to the School of Engineering and Applied Science, I would say they come here for the opportunity. They join us for the chance to refine and develop their own expertise, to collaborate with other smart, enthusiastic people and to use their knowledge for the benefit of society. The Engineering School is a place where people come into their own, as individuals as well as engineers.
Consider our undergraduates. They arrive on Grounds with test scores that would ensure them admission to the very top engineering schools in the nation, yet they opt to come to U.Va. in increasing numbers. Applications for a place in the Class of 2013, for instance, were up 20 percent.
They choose the Engineering School because they know they will receive individual guidance and mentoring from professors who take a sincere interest in their future. They join us for the chance to participate in hands-on research, working side-by-side in our laboratories with faculty members and graduate students. And they come here because of the many opportunities we offer that can enrich and expand their engineering education.
Graduate students join us because they see at U.Va. the opportunity to get their careers off to a great start. There are few better credentials than to have contributed to our research programs in fields like magnetic bearings, corrosion and systems medicine. And since the Engineering School regularly partners with private companies and federal agencies, graduate students leave here with an extensive network of relationships that will serve them well in later life.
And finally, faculty members come here because of the opportunity to work with bright, inquisitive students and to collaborate with colleagues at the head of their professions. Just this year, Eric Loth, one of the world’s foremost experts in supersonic propulsion, agreed to join us as associate chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He joins a faculty that includes 13 members of the National Academy of Engineering. The Engineering School has made a real commitment to support faculty research with modern facilities. Our nanotechnology building, Wilsdorf Hall, was recently completed, and we broke ground in April 2009 on Rice Hall, our information technology engineering building.
The sources of this opportunity: the initiative, the insight and the dedication of every member of the Engineering School community. If there is one fact that distinguishes this Engineering School it is that people come here not simply to take advantage of opportunities but to create them.
Our students, for instance, have been instrumental in creating on-Grounds groups that promote international service learning. They have undertaken a water system assessment for a town in Guatemala and installed solar panels on a preschool in South Africa. Faculty and administrators have been tireless in forging major research partnerships with other universities in the Commonwealth, with companies like Rolls-Royce and Dominion Semiconductor and with federal agencies like NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. These relationships greatly enhance our research agenda and create opportunities for graduate projects and student internships. And our innovative collaboration with the Commonwealth’s community college system, the Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia Program, now enables students around the state to receive a degree in engineering without having to leave their local communities.
These are just a few of the opportunities we are creating here. We welcome your participation and support as we create even more opportunities for successive generations of students and faculty. Join us!
Dean James H. Aylor
Louis T. Rader Professor of Electrical Engineering