Dear Colleagues and Friends,
During this past year that has been full of difficult circumstances, I’ve been incredibly proud of the hard work of our faculty, staff, and students. Time after time, we have achieved more than I thought possible with a smooth transition to online learning and continued research success.
Most importantly, we have continued to focus on providing the highest quality education for our students.
I am exceedingly proud of the work that our faculty and staff are doing in helping our students manage unprecedented challenges while helping them reach their goals. Last spring, more than 98 percent of our students completed the semester, which is actually slightly higher than 2019. Almost 1,000 of our students graduated and celebrated a virtual commencement.
In spite of the fall semester’s uncertainties, our faculty, staff, and students provided our incoming students with excellent information about their coursework and campus living. More importantly, they went the extra mile in providing support and encouragement.
Our faculty have embraced remote delivery technologies and pedagogy, from providing at-home lab kits to installing cameras in laboratories for complete 3D views of equipment. Our students are having as much of a full classroom experience as possible.
Our faculty have also continued to grow their research endeavors, too, in spite of the challenges of working in laboratories during a pandemic. Our research support is at its highest level ever, with a total of $34 million in research awards this past fiscal year. Our assistant professors are major contributors to our research enterprise with approximately $28M in active grants, and in our School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 70 percent of our assistant professors have received NSF CAREER or DARPA young faculty awards since 2014.
We’re beginning to see the results of our hard work and our growing reputation. This year, three of our young faculty members received National Science Foundation career awards. Several of our more senior faculty members were named Fellows, and Voiland Distinguished Professor Yong Wang received the prestigious American Chemical Society’s (ACS) E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. Csrankings.com ranked our computer science and engineering graduate program focusing on Design Automation and High-Performance Computing among the top 20 programs in the U.S.
As you all know, we all continue to experience pain, anxiety, and stress as we face the headwinds of a global pandemic and economic hardship. Systemic racism means that members of our underrepresented communities are especially affected.
We have plenty of work in the months and years ahead to address these challenges. Yet, through them, I believe we can become a stronger and better community.
I want to especially thank all of you for your continuing support as we navigate the choppy waters of 2020. More than ever, the support of our Cougar community has been and continues to be critically important in helping our students grow and succeed.
Dean, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99163