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Plans and progress for 2014

Happy new year! In 2014, I'm looking forward to the many opportunities we will have to collaborate in our efforts to grow the college and advance its excellence in research, teaching and service to society.

As you know, College of Engineering teams are working diligently to develop a strategic plan, and to set priorities and directions in research, education, and in the diversity of our college. In particular, I am very excited about the progress our Research Innovation Committee is making. In response to its call for proposals in November, the committee received 15 submissions—an outstanding response that includes a mixture of high-risk projects balanced by strong teams ready to develop proposals for national initiatives.

Each proposal included multiple team members, participants from at least two College of Engineering departments, and a principal investigator or collaborators from every research-intensive engineering department. Additionally, the teams included collaborators from at least five other schools and colleges at UW-Madison, and from local and national industries, universities and national labs.

In December, the committee members evaluated the proposals and will be making funding announcements very soon.

While it's early in January and the spring semester won't begin for a few more weeks, we already are looking ahead to May 17, when the College of Engineering will host its inaugural graduation ceremony and reception at the Kohl Center. Held in addition to the UW-Madison spring commencement in Camp Randall Stadium, the event will enable engineering students who are earning bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees the special chance to graduate from the College of Engineering in the company of their peers. Our aim is to make this event a very meaningful occasion for our graduates; during the ceremony, each chair will recognize his or her department's graduates individually as they walk across the stage with their fellow students.

A college commencement committee currently is planning this ceremony, which will require many volunteers in a variety of capacities. Later in spring, please watch for details about how you can get involved and consider becoming a part of this special event.

As the year progresses, we also will be planning much-needed upgrades to spaces across the College of Engineering campus, and we have hired Assistant Dean for Facilities Sharon Devenish to lead these efforts. Sharon brings 35 years of experience in facility planning, management and design. Through her company, Sharon has participated in a number of UW-Madison campus projects, including work at Union South and the new School of Human Ecology building. 

I am proud to lead this remarkable college, and I'm looking forward to working with all of you to as we plan its future together. 

Ian Robertson