Guest column: Student success, research among priorities at Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

David McLean
Dean David McLean

Greetings, and welcome to the fall semester! Whether you’re new or returning, we are very excited to welcome everyone to CSU and the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

New students, we’re especially excited to meet you. We hope you will enjoy your time on campus as you make new friends and learn how a career in engineering equips you to have a positive impact on our world. Please introduce yourselves to faculty and staff – they are here to help you be successful!

For returning students, faculty and staff, welcome back! We recognize that the past several years have been challenging with the global pandemic. Still, as engineers and scientists, we are adaptive and resilient, and we are ready to help others around us address future challenges. You are key to our core mission, which remains: to serve Colorado and the global community as part of our land-grant heritage of education, research and outreach.

As we start the school year, we are making significant investments in student success initiatives and in critical research areas as part of our college strategic plan.

We are committed to improving student success and retention, particularly within the first two years, including a pilot project with the math department to teach calculus with applications to engineering. We also aim to close gaps in retention based on financial need, race and first-generation status, thereby enabling more students to have access to an amazing engineering education. Industry partners and donors have taken note of our efforts supporting student success. As an example, Marco Campos of Campos EPC, a first-generation CU-Boulder alumnus, is so committed to the CSU mission that he supports first-generation CSU engineering scholarships each year. He also supports a STEM summer camp to encourage high school students to envision their future with an excellent college education.

Engineers provide solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our day, so we’re investing in important research that address impacts of climate change and extreme weather, sustainability, human and environmental health, and clean energy. We also offer hands-on education and research opportunities at the undergraduate level that help prepare students for successful careers – like Tina Larson, an alumna of Chemical and Biological Engineering who is now president of the biotechnology company Recursion Pharmaceuticals. At the graduate level, our students are working side-by-side with some of the top scientists in their field, including Sue van den Heever, newly elected as a University Distinguished Professor in Atmospheric Science at CSU, and the first woman to lead a NASA Earth Venture Mission.

Welcome home, Rams. Good luck with the semester, and please stop by to say hello!

David McLean
Dean, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering