Letter from the Dean

A man posing in front of students sitting at a table

Dean Louay Chamra

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Disasters can make or break an institution, testing its strengths and magnifying its weaknesses. In the past year and a half, COVID-19 tested the School of Engineering and Computer Science, forcing it, like many universities across the nation, to suspend physical classrooms and shift to online classes. It affected how we interacted with each other and, indeed, how we viewed and delivered education.

Despite these significant trials, we, as an educational institution, have risen to the challenge—keeping our communities and students safe, pausing and restarting daily life, and managing the secondary effects of social and economic disruption. What’s more, the pandemic has brought into bright light our true strength – the exceptional faculty and staff who continue to provide a high-quality engineering education.

This quality is most certainly acknowledged by the value employers see in our graduates. While many new engineering professionals might struggle financially, College Factual placed SECS third in the Great Lakes Region and 16th nationwide in 2021 rankings for highest paid engineering school graduates. Our mechanical engineering bachelor graduates earn the ninth highest salary in the United States, while the electrical engineering alumni earn the tenth highest pay in this year's ranking.

Our educational quality can also be seen in the academic programs, opportunities, services and accommodations we offer to our students. The 2022 reports from Intelligent.com, which provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs, placed four SECS programs in the top 10 nationwide. Our bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering was placed tenth overall and named Best for Student services, while the Information Technology program ranked seventh overall and Best in the Midwest. As for our graduate degrees, M.S. in Engineering Management was placed fourth overall and Best for Product Lifestyle Management, and M.S. in Industrial Engineering ranked third overall and Best Evening Option.

I am also happy to report that despite interruptions and reduced opportunities during the pandemic, SECS Post Graduation Success report for the 2019-2020 class shows that 85 percent of our students still completed at least one internship before graduation and 92 percent are employed in their field of study or are pursuing further education.

In addition to regular coursework, many of our undergraduate and graduate students participate in quality research experiences that shape their interests and pave a path to their future. Oakland Engineer offers many stories of these experiences. From interdisciplinary research bridging basic science between plants and humans, to developing controls able to accommodate complex nonlinear dynamics and behaviors and exploring usefulness of digital twins, our faculty and students work together to produce quality research and highly-valued, hands-on learning.

Louay M. Chamra, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Science

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