A Moment with the Dean

A Moment with the Dean

Message from Debra Larson

September 22, 2011

Debra S. Larson

Debra S. Larson

Welcome to the 2011-2012 academic year!

Cal Poly Engineering has already gotten off to a fantastic start with a notable ranking and an historic performance by students in a national competition.

Cal Poly was recently named number two in the nation for public, largely undergraduate engineering programs. Although U.S.News puts the Military Academy ahead of Cal Poly, the institutions are so different that I think it's reasonable to say that Cal Poly is at the top of its class. To read more about the rankings, see http://ceng.calpoly.edu/articles/cal-poly-engineering-top-ranked/ .

Meanwhile, our Aerospace teams made history at the AIAA student design contest by sweeping first-, second- and third-place awards in both the undergraduate and graduate division. Wow! See http://ceng.calpoly.edu/articles/cal-poly-engineering-teems-winning-teams-aiaa-airc/ for that story.

I am delighted by these news items, but I'm not at all surprised. For years, I have known Cal Poly as a place that gets engineering education right.

Cal Poly's mystique is founded on Learn by Doing, exceptional students and dedicated faculty. This dynamic means that our students acquire engineering fundamentals by undertaking applied projects that also give them professional experience. No wonder Cal Poly wins national design competitions over and over! Design-build-test is part of our educational DNA.

One of the questions posed to me as the new dean is how to improve on our already exceptional Cal Poly Engineering brand. Frankly, I think we can lead engineering education by hardwiring these award-winning projects into the curriculum.

Class projects, club team projects, multidisciplinary team projects all provide opportunities for students to "innovate by doing." And innovation is the key to graduating engineers primed to charge the economic engine, serve existing and emerging industries, and address societal needs.

I am excited by the possibilities ahead for Cal Poly Engineering, and I feel tremendously privileged to join this renowned institution. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and industry partners, who have made this college second to none.

Debra Larson , Ph.D., P.E.

Other Messages