Welcome back, everyone!
August 29, 2012
Dean Cherry A. Murray outlines the priorities for the coming year at SEAS and invites everyone to attend the first All Hands and BBQ on Sept. 10
Dear members of the SEAS community,
Welcome to the new academic year. I trust all of you had a productive, fun, and very hot summer.
As you will have noticed, the once-quiet campus is coming back to life.
A new batch of freshmen and G1s are already flooding SEAS’ advisers and teaching staff with questions. Students are busy course shopping using the tool created in CS 50. And our tours for prospective undergraduates, which debuted this past spring, are ready for a surge in new interest.
To help us all get ready, and to start the year off on a high note...
I will be holding my first All-Hands Meeting of the year on Monday, September 10, at 3 p.m., in Maxwell Dworkin G115, where I will present, in detail, our priorities for the coming year. Immediately following the All-Hands, you are all invited to the All-SEAS Welcome BBQ on the front lawn of Pierce at 4 p.m., weather permitting. An invitation (with rain date) will be emailed shortly. Please RSVP so that we can provide enough food.
As a preview, I’d like to share with you the highlights. These will be our top priorities for 2012–13…
To further invest in our undergraduate programs to ensure that ALL Harvard College students graduate with literacy in engineering and technology and that our concentrators receive a spectacular educational experience.
Specific efforts include the creation of AP 50, a new gateway engineering-focused applied physics course; expanded lab offerings and increased staffing in our undergraduate design laboratories; and novel approaches to pedagogy such as the "flipped" classroom (read Prof. Harry Lewis' Harvard Magazine article on teaching CS 20 this way), CS 50x (one of the first offerings of edX, the online teaching and learning platform), and field-based learning (like in ES 96).
We are also pleased to welcome to SEAS Josh Cooper, Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs and Course Administration; Patrick Ulrich, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies for Environmental Sciences and Engineering; and Chris Lombardo, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies for Engineering Sciences.
In addition, we have several new preceptors: Nate Hardison for CS 50, CarolAnn Koleci for AP 50, Avi Shapiro for Applied Mathematics; and Daniela Faas, who joins us as Senior Preceptor for Design Instruction. We also welcome our new undergraduate lab/design staff: Peter Kjeer, Senior Mechanical and Systems Lab Engineer; Sara Hamel, Environmental and Biological and Biological Lab Engineer; and Christie Gilliand, Assistant for the Undergraduate Teaching Labs.
To see the complete list of Directors & Assistant Directors of Undergraduate Studies, see our website.
To review and enhance our graduate pedagogy, much as we have done and are doing with our undergraduate programs. The Task Force on Graduate Education launched last year and led by Gu-Yeon Wei, Academic Dean, and Eric Mazur, Area Dean for Applied Physics, will go into full swing this year with the charge of proposing and implementing enhancements to our graduate programs with input from our entire faculty.
I want to assure our current master's and Ph.D. students that we aim to engage you in every aspect of this process. Feel free to drop me a line now!
In the meantime, we are certainly not standing still. The new master's program in Computational Science and Engineering is now accepting applications for next year. We are also very pleased about how well our first SEAS Ph.D. hooding ceremony and graduate receptions were received last spring. We plan to continue and improve such celebrations of achievement.
To continue to enhance the administration of SEAS. Administratively, we also have a lot of work to do. Now that Executive Dean Tim Bowman has settled in, our plans are to implement a smart solution for the future of computing at SEAS, complete our searches for a new CFO and head of sponsored research administration, and, with the help of several administrative task forces (which you will hear about soon), establish more rational practices and improved workflows into the spring semester.
With the aim of becoming more open and transparent, the Executive Deans’ coffees and the All-Staff Meeting will return and we will look for more ways for staff to provide input.
To implement a short-term space plan. In the coming weeks, we will present a short-term space plan for SEAS, to get us through the immediate, uncomfortable crunch. In the next 3–5 years, I expect the space situation, especially for staff, will unfortunately not be optimal.
Teaching and research space have to take precedence, as we must accommodate the positive problem of increasing numbers of students in our courses and concentrations and the arrival of several world-class faculty. Our aim is to be fair and equitable, as we are all in this together, and we are seriously considering every possible option.
On the positive side, our outdoor spaces will see some improvement: we will soon have our very own Hubway station (for short-term bike rental) at Maxwell Dworkin, and the proximate Science Center plaza will soon be complete.
Lastly, to focus on fundraising. You may not see me at SEAS as often in the coming year. Rest assured that I will be working on behalf of the School, with a focus on fundraising and alumni engagement. With my iPhone and Galaxy Tab at my side, I will be online and accessible as much as possible.
Again, please mark your calendar for the All-Hands Meeting on September 10 at 3 p.m., to be followed, weather permitting, by a barbecue on the Pierce Hall lawn.
Thanks, as always, for your tireless support of the wonderful start-up we call SEAS.
Best wishes for a fantastic year!
Cherry A. Murray
Dean, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor of Physics