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Newsnotes 4/1/13: A message from Dean Ian Robertson

Dean Ian Robertson, UW-Madison College of Engineering
Dean Ian Robertson, UW-Madison College of Engineering

Fellow colleagues:

After two official weeks with the UW-Madison College of Engineering, and several advance visits getting to know the college and its talented people, I want to first convey my excitement over being part of this great institution. I know I am just beginning to fully understand our challenges and opportunities, but my meetings so far with faculty, staff and students have reflected a commitment to excellence and the potential to achieve greater success.

I will be relying a great deal on your expertise and involvement in the coming months as we set future strategic directions. In the next few weeks, I will be assembling committees to begin building a shared strategic vision for the College of Engineering. The first committees will be focused on educational innovation, research leadership, equity and diversity, and college leadership.

We are at a pivotal time of increasing industrial and societal demand for engineers, and the need for strong technological and engineering solutions permeates virtually every societal challenge. This will require us to take a critical look at our teaching and research directions.

Some core questions we will address together:

  • Are we educating the engineers of tomorrow, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, who will emerge as leaders to solve key national and societal problems?

  • In what research areas can we establish ourselves as national and global leaders, to address national as well as societal challenges? 

  • Are there ways to change the college culture to become more welcoming and inclusive, toward achieving a more diverse engineering workforce?

Your input will be invaluable to this process, which I expect to extend through a full year. We also need to be engaging our alumni, corporate partners and other external constituencies in this conversation, and building more true collaborations with other schools and colleges.

I have met with many individuals and constituencies so far, and I will continue to make listening and learning a top priority. I plan to use Newsnotes on a monthly basis to communicate progress and facilitate discussion.

I am looking forward to working with all of you. If you haven’t already, please save the date of the College Appreciation Day reception on Tuesday, April 30, where we will celebrate faculty and staff achievements and I will be able to meet more of you in person.

Ian Robertson