A message from Tejal Desai, Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering

Dear Members of the Brown University Community,

It is with great joy and anticipation that I return to Brown to serve as the Sorensen Family Dean
of Engineering. While yesterday was my first official day in the role, I am grateful to have
worked closely over the spring and summer with the School’s inaugural dean, Larry Larson, and
colleagues in the School of Engineering and across the University to learn, prepare and begin
the transition. I remain humbled by the gracious hospitality that the community has extended
over the last few months, welcoming me to the role and back to Providence. I am especially
appreciative of Dean Larson’s openness and unparalleled generosity during this period.

Brown has played a substantial role in my life. As an undergraduate studying engineering, the
Open Curriculum honored, fueled and expanded my curiosity, deepening my awareness of the
importance of creating an inclusive and equitable community and the vital role of engineering
in service to society. Inspired by this, I went on to pursue an academic career in bioengineering,
and have stayed connected to the University as an alumna, engaging as the Division of
Engineering evolved into a School.

Since its establishment, I’ve been impressed by important progress that positions the School so
well for continued growth and impact. This includes the expansion of faculty and sponsored
research, critical investments in facilities such as the Engineering Research Center, and
continued commitment to excellence in teaching to prepare broad-minded leaders bent on
solving global challenges. I have also admired the strong relationships that alumni, parents and
other supporters have maintained with Brown and with Engineering – relationships I will
continue to cultivate as dean.

I’m thrilled to be joining the University at this juncture, given the focused attention on growing
research with the aim of enhancing the University’s important contributions to society.
Engineering is already making a meaningful impact through research, and we are poised to do
more. I look forward to both continuing my own scholarship while actively supporting the
interdisciplinary inquiry and discovery our community strives to advance. We are so fortunate
to have exceptional faculty and postdoctoral fellows, talented students, skilled and dedicated
staff, valuable partnerships and many beautiful, contemporary facilities – all of which we will
further bolster to drive progress.

I am a firm believer that the quality of our education reflects the quality of our research, and
that attracting the most promising students depends on having accomplished scholars who are
committed to teaching and mentorship. As we move forward in earnest to accelerate basic and
applied research, it is also an opportune moment to reflect on our undergraduate and graduate
educational programs. In particular, I look forward to engaging with a range of stakeholders to
enhance our undergraduate curriculum to strengthen the way we prepare students for real-
world experiences; support innovative master’s programs such as the recently launched
Brown/RISD Design Engineering program; and grow our doctoral program. This includes
strengthening and building new partnerships within the University, including with the Warren
Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health, as well as with external collaborators
across sectors.

Finally, I know from my own experience as a student, teacher, colleague and parent how
important it is to be and feel welcomed as a full member of a community in order to thrive. In
alignment with the values of Brown’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, a key priority for me
will be continuing to diversify the School’s student body at all levels while recruiting and
retaining more faculty from historically underrepresented groups – and being attentive to
supporting an inclusive environment in which the very best ideas and work can flourish.

I’m very energized and inspired by this opportunity, and look forward to engaging with
colleagues in the extended School of Engineering community to develop, refine and execute on
our plans.

Tejal Desai
Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering