May 24, 1999
By Tim Stephens
Since its launch in 1997, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering has expanded enrollment, added new degree programs, hired new faculty, and built new facilities. At a dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 3, representatives of Silicon Valley industry and the National Science Foundation will come to UCSC to recognize the School of Engineering's rapid emergence as an important center for education and research in engineering.
The event will feature several notable speakers, including Eugene Wong, the National Science Foundation's assistant director for engineering; Len Perham, president and CEO of Integrated Device Technology, a leading producer of integrated circuits for communications and computing; and Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, which represents 130 of the largest private-sector employers in Silicon Valley.
"The Baskin School of Engineering is a valuable resource, providing Silicon Valley companies with the highly skilled workers that are so vital to the continued prosperity of the high-tech industry," Guardino said.
Enrollment in the School of Engineering has climbed from 320 undergraduates in 1997 to around 700 currently. The school has 35 faculty members and about 145 graduate students. Ultimately, plans call for the school to grow to about 1,200 undergraduates, about 500 graduate students, and between 80 and 100 faculty members.
Chancellor Greenwood said the engineering school has positioned itself to be an important player in the regional economy. "By focusing on several targeted areas of excellence, the School of Engineering has created a program that will be a critical force in meeting the needs of the high-technology industry in Silicon Valley, the Monterey Bay region, the state, and the nation," Greenwood said.
The dedication will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of new engineering facilities, including state-of-the-art electrical engineering teaching laboratories, faculty offices, and an open area for informal gatherings of engineering students and faculty. "We've created both formal and informal spaces for people to get together, to work in teams, and to rub shoulders with their colleagues," said Patrick Mantey, dean of the School of Engineering.
New undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and information systems management have been introduced and mechanical engineering will be offered this fall. In addition, several new graduate degree programs will be added over the next five years, including electrical engineering, engineering management, software engineering, and applied mathematics and statistics.
"The expansion of our engineering programs is focused in areas we believe will be in great demand in the next decade," Mantey said.
The school began offering the information systems management (ISM) degree in 1998 in cooperation with the Economics Department. The ISM major was created to meet the increasing demand for professionals who not only understand information technology but also know how to apply it to meet the specific needs of a business.
In addition to training a skilled engineering workforce, the school's faculty is engaged in research on cutting-edge technologies that will be vital to the economy of the 21st century, Mantey noted. Researchers in computer science and computer engineering are doing important work in the areas of networks and distributed systems, chip design and packaging, computer graphics and scientific visualization, and computational biology and bioinformatics. The electrical engineering faculty are concentrated in the areas of electronics, communications, and instrumentation and control systems.
The School of Engineering has now reached the critical mass needed to begin establishing new departments. Electrical engineering will soon become the school's third department, joining computer science and computer engineering. Five new electrical engineering faculty members have been recruited, and the department's plans call for a total of ten faculty members by July 2000. The first class of undergraduates majoring in electrical engineering will be starting their junior year this fall.
"The electrical engineering department represents an exciting new dimension for the School of Engineering," Mantey said. "Our target is to produce 50 new graduates with bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering each year, 15 with master's degrees, and six to ten with Ph.D.s," he added.
Faculty recruitment is also under way for a planned department of applied mathematics and statistics. Other new programs under development include software engineering, engineering management, and biomolecular engineering.
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