The beginning of fall semester is an exciting time, as we welcome our first-year students as well as our returning students and faculty. In addition to assisting our new students with their adjustment to the rigors of university classes and life away from home, one of our jobs is to introduce them to the many opportunities the College provides to enhance their education beyond their classroom experiences.
One of the most important is our Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, where our undergraduates are involved in cutting-edge research projects together with our graduate students and world-class faculty researchers. We have expanded this program significantly over the last few years, and together with our co-op and internship, entrepreneurship, immersive study abroad and other experiences, enhance their communication and leadership skills in addition to the critical thinking and technical rigor provided by an engineering degree. The goal is to provide them with an advantage over their peers when they enter the workforce or go on to graduate or professional programs. .
All of these efforts benefit from our outstanding research program. Over the last decade, we have made significant investments in faculty and research infrastructure that have resulted in successful nationally competitive research center awards funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and others. These investments have led to some amazing results.
This year, for the first time, ASEE data shows that our College has cracked the top 10 nationally in research expenditures among colleges of engineering. We are now eighth in the nation overall, and sixth among public colleges of engineering, with more than $206 million in research expenditures trailing only MIT, Texas A&M, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Berkeley, and Stanford. This accomplishment, of which we are very proud, clearly places our College in very elite and preeminent company nationwide.
In addition to many examples of our outstanding research, in this issue you will also read about our new Rural NC Internship Program, where we place students in summer internships in areas of our state with great need for economic development.
Our annual College homecoming will be held on Friday, Nov. 2, in the Hunt Library on Centennial Campus. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to visit campus, connect with former classmates and learn more about what’s happening in your College.
While you are here, check out the progress being made on Fitts-Woolard Hall, our newest building on Centennial Campus. This issue provides an update on fundraising efforts to support the new building and why they are so important to the College’s upward trajectory.
Finally, my thanks always for your great support. I trust our efforts and accomplishments are making you prouder every day of being a graduate of our College and invite you to stay in touch with us.
Louis A. Martin-Vega, Ph.D.