All too often pivotal moments in history are recognized only in retrospect.



Leah Jamieson

Leah H. Jamieson
The John A. Edwarson
Dean of Engineering

The nature of engineering is to look ahead and envision the future while it is a work in progress. We address social challenges, define strategies, design solutions, and implement improvements, all with an unwavering ambition to make a difference.

With this practical yet visionary spirit, we are partnering with the president, provost, and Board of Trustees to launch a bold new strategy for the transformational growth of the College of Engineering that promises to take our programs and people to new frontiers of achievement.

Thanks to the University’s landmark investment and endorsement for this ambitious effort, we will be able to hire up to an additional 107 faculty members — an increase of 30 percent. This, in turn, will allow our undergraduate enrollment to grow by almost 10 percent — to more than 7,750 students. Graduate enrollment will grow by 750 to 3,600. To support the growth in faculty and students, staff numbers will grow an estimated 28 percent in the same period.

Growth on this scale is indeed an opportunity for transformational change! And that is the point. Our aspirations are not just about becoming larger. We are defining and creating a new College of Engineering as we grow. Our bold plan will provide an economic benefit to Indiana, the country, and the world, as we educate more engineers with the Purdue credentials so highly valued by industry, government, and academia. Our growth initiative addresses a national imperative — to do even more to meet the pressing need for more engineers.

In 2011, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu laid out a call to action: “For America to stay competitive in the global market, we must train and retain the world’s best engineers. Working together, private industry and the public sector can position the U.S. to continue to lead in science and innovation in the 21st century, creating good jobs and laying the foundation for a robust economy.”

To address this national concern, the U.S. Council on Jobs and Competitiveness called on U.S. universities to graduate an additional 10,000 engineers a year.

Purdue Engineering is now answering the call to do even more to address this need.

Inspired by big ideas, sustained by significant investment, we will be uniquely poised to drive research agendas that respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century as we shape and educate tomorrow’s engineers.

As we begin the plan’s implementation, we will share our vision and aspirations about farreaching themes of growth, transformation, and impact. To this end, we have just announced this spring’s College of Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series featuring “Provocative Conversations on the Future of Higher Education.”

Financial support for the College of Engineering growth initiative comes from a combination of sources: the Office of the Provost, the college’s differential fees, and the reallocation of engineering funds. In the first five years, Purdue’s investment in Engineering’s growth will be more than $130 million. We estimate that in order to realize this transformational opportunity to its fullest extent, the University’s investment will need to be augmented with at least $150 million in new philanthropic gifts specifically focused on strategic growth for scholarship endowments; graduate student fellowships; endowments for distinguished, named, and mid-career rising star professorships; space renovation and remodeling; and new capital projects.

Now, as always, our strength and success rely on a worldwide network of passionate and loyal alumni/ae, partners, friends and colleagues. We welcome your input, support and participation in our multifaceted mission and the opportunities our growth promises at a time when the nation — and the world — need more top-flight engineers.

Charles F. Kettering, the American engineer and inventor of the electric starter, once said “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”

And so we’ve set our goals high.

This is our pivotal moment. We must embrace it.

One day we may have the luxury of looking back at this historical moment and saying with justifiable pride that we took the influence of Purdue engineering to new heights of success, excellence, and the fulfillment of our vision to be known for our impact on the world.

By Leah H. Jamieson