A Moment with the Dean

A Moment with the Dean

January 04, 2017

You may have heard the news that changes are coming soon to the College of Engineering.

On December 23, I formally accepted a new position as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at CSU-Chico. My start date at Chico State is March 1. Here is a link to an announcement regarding this appointment: http://www.csuchico.edu/news/current-news/12-23-chico-names-new-provost.shtml.

I have deep affection for — and I am deeply grateful to — every member of the Cal Poly Engineering community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and corporate partners. Together, we have moved the College forward.

I take pride and satisfaction in all we’ve accomplished during my six-year tenure as dean. Starting in Fall 2011, we tackled the future by rebuilding the business and culture of the College. We established an annual strategic plan, developed a robust budget allocation model, clarified faculty review and promotion processes, strengthened our commitment to student success, became collaborators, and grew programs and funding in support of co-curricular and applied research activities.

From this foundation, we addressed a number of new and exciting initiatives, many of which are critical to keeping the College’s learning environments relevant. These areas included cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, autonomous flight, innovation and entrepreneurship, safety, diversity and inclusivity, and much more. The College’s fundraising grew from about $4 million a year to our recent past year of $15 million.

The great news is that the College of Engineering is re-energized and constantly reinventing its future. The College is now working to reimagine our graduate programs, and our applied research activities are at the highest level ever. Our stellar student clubs are growing in number and are regularly achieving national honors. And, importantly, the faculty, staff, and students are reaching across the departments to work with each other.

As I leave Cal Poly for my next step, I anticipate that the College will build upon its great momentum. Our mission uniquely positions the College for success in the landscape of higher education. Cal Poly Provost Enz Finken will be implementing an interim solution for the dean’s office in the near future. You can read her message to the campus at http://www.calpolynews.calpoly.edu/news_releases/2016/December/engineering-dean.html.

I’d like to thank Cal Poly and all members of our College of Engineering community for the opportunity given to me to serve this marvelous college. I will miss you all. Please visit me in Chico!

Yours Truly,

Debra Larson

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