Welcome Back - Spring Semester 2023

Dear Engineering Students,

Welcome back from Winter Break! I look forward to connecting with you in the coming weeks and months and learning more about your courses, research interests and overall experience at Brown and the School of Engineering. We’ll have many formal and informal opportunities to meet this semester, both in small and larger settings, including ways that will help shape our direction as a School. Your insights and perspectives are essential as we seek to enhance our academic offerings within and beyond the classroom, expand research, and create a vibrant environment that engages you now while helping prepare you for the future.

Please take a moment to read about some of our plans to invite student involvement and input as we promote a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive community that is committed to making a difference in the world through research, discovery, and community engagement.

Student Advisory Board: Charged with advising and collaborating with the School administration on our highest priorities, the Student Advisory Board is central to our efforts to cultivate community and to understand and be responsive to students’ ideas, interests, and concerns in an effective and timely way. Board membership includes representatives identified by the various student affinity groups, as well as undergraduate and graduate at-large members elected by the student body. We anticipate the Board being in place later this month and to have our first meeting in February. Past areas of focus for the Board included shaping the School’s Diversity Inclusion Action Plan, providing input to enhance student advising, and hosting community conversations on key issues such as mental health.

Core Curriculum Review: As noted in earlier communications, a faculty committee is working this year to review and develop a proposal to reimagine the undergraduate curriculum. To help guide the process, the committee is planning a series of conversations, focus groups, and surveys with undergraduates who are either currently in the engineering program or have taken at least one core engineering course. Student outreach will begin in the next few weeks to get feedback, comments, and suggestions regarding the existing core curriculum to inform the review.

DEI Associate Dean Search: Undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students will be involved in the search process as we seek to attract highly qualified candidates for the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Working with affinity groups, students have been invited to take part in candidate interviews with the goal of having a thoughtful leader with deep expertise in place this semester.

Facilitating Student Events: We want to make it easy for students to organize and gather for events and meetings. In response to requests – particularly from undergraduate students - we’ve created this webpage, which has useful information needed for event planning including reserving rooms, catering and facilities requests, and creating digital signage.  

We’ve also established a new group email: soestudentevents@brown.edu

This email goes to Communications, Student Affairs, and Facilities so that these SOE groups are informed of upcoming student events and can respond accordingly to student requests.

Elevating Engineering: The semester will offer many opportunities to consider engineering’s influence in society, career paths to explore, and the breadth and depth of exceptional engineering research taking place within and beyond SOE. 

For example, mark your calendars for Monday, February 27, at 4:30 pm to attend this year’s Dourdeville Lecture. We’re pleased to welcome Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Malcolm Gillis University Professor and member of the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University, who will discuss how innovative low-cost medical devices can have substantial impact in under-resourced communities.

There’s much, much more planned, including SOE research seminars - all of which are listed on the SOE Calendar. Please bookmark the site to stay up to date on all the happenings.

I look forward to seeing you soon. Until then, have a great semester!