Questions for Douglas Reeves
Dr. Douglas Reeves, professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, has served as an assistant dean working with graduate programs since fall 2013 and was named associate dean for graduate programs in 2015. Under his leadership, the College’s academic departments have recruited a record number of high-quality students.
How many graduate students are currently enrolled in the College? Is that number growing and does the College plan for it to continue to grow?
There were roughly 3,300 engineering graduate students (2,100 master’s and 1,200 Ph.D.) enrolled in fall 2015, which is a third of the total graduate student enrollment at NC State. Ten years ago, the total number of engineering graduate students was about 1,800; we’ve grown substantially since then! The current plan is to hold steady the number of master’s students, and grow the Ph.D. enrollment to approximately 1,500.
Why is growing the Ph.D. program important?
As a research-intensive university (one of only two in the UNC system, along with UNC-Chapel Hill), it is critical to our mission to recruit the best minds and train them to be outstanding researchers. That training allows them to do things they could never otherwise do and gives us the opportunity to have an impact far greater than would otherwise be the case.
What makes NC State a great place for graduate studies in engineering?
Most importantly, we have a world-class faculty. The chance to work with such faculty members, and with fellow students who are amazingly creative, is the best reason to come to NC State. Another reason for coming here is that employers and universities greatly value the quality of our students and our programs, which translates into excellent opportunities after graduation. We also have excellent facilities, particularly on Centennial Campus, and we’re fortunate to be in one of the top places to live in the United States.
Which schools are we routinely competing with for top engineering graduate students?
We frequently find our applicants are also being recruited by the top public engineering programs, such as the Universities of Michigan and Illinois, and Georgia Tech. It’s not unusual to be competing with elite private universities as well, such as Carnegie-Mellon and MIT.
You had recruiting success as director of graduate programs in the Department of Computer Science. What was the key?
The reputation of the program and the faculty ultimately are what attracts applicants. For top applicants, we made admissions decisions early and offered substantial financial aid. For domestic students, a visit to campus to meet faculty and students, and a positive experience, was key to getting them to accept. Most master’s students are self-supporting, but the return on investment of our degrees was so good (because of the demand for our graduates) that we had a tremendous number of applications from well-qualified students.
Is distance learning available at the graduate level?
Yes. The Engineering Online program is one of the oldest and best-established distance education engineering programs in the world. We offer 16 master’s degrees through streaming-video technology, taught by the same professors, and in the same way, as our on-campus degrees.