Student success emphasized in the College of Science and Engineering

in News/SCSU News by

Student success is the number one priority for the college of science and engineering, but this kind of success is measured outside of the classroom. The college of Science and Engineering Dean Dan Gregory emphasized student success and spoke of the ways that the college is moving forward.

A faculty member since 1997, Gregory has been dean since July and was interim dean since May 2013. Previous to interim dean, he was the associate provost for research and dean of the graduate school.

Gregory described the ways that the college of science and engineering has moved forward in recent years. Gregory said enrollment in the college has been growing since 2012. Gregory also said  nine new probationary faculty have recently been hired by the college, which is a significant increase according to Gregory.

“Last year was very exciting, really interesting things are happening in that building,” Gregory said about the new ISELF building that opened last year.

“The excitement at first was about the building and now the excitement is about what’s happening inside the building,” Gregory said. Gregory also stated that although ISELF is a tool for the college to be successful, the college has other tools as well.

“We don’t build the college around the building, it’s a philosophy,” Gregory said.

Gregory said that the college is holding true to the ISELF vision, and that there are amazing things happening in the building. For example, students doing research companies with local companies.

This fall, ISELF will see the addition of the building’s café selling Starbucks coffee, which will not take up any more space than what was designated when the building was designed and built.

There are other ways that the college is working to advance student success beyond the curriculum. A student relations coordinator and an experiential and outreach learning coordinator have been hired, both to help students be successful not just in graduating but in starting a career, Gregory said. Gregory also said the college is speaking with employers to see what they need from students so that on the student’s first day at the job they are “value added.”

Gregory spoke of the impact of experiential and international learning on students.  He said that students are fundamentally changed from original, interdisciplinary research projects, and students are fundamentally changed from international learning.

The college started its own international internship program, a partnership with JK Lakshmipat University in Jaipur, India. Students from JKLU came to SCSU and interned at Electrolux, and SCSU students went to India and interned at JK Organization. Gregory said this program was very successful, though there are improvements to be made after its first time.

“Next year is going to be a very exciting year,” Gregory said. The college’s strategic five-year plan was completed two years ago, with ten specific initiatives to keep the college moving forward.

Gregory said that the college needs to focus better on marketing and recruitment so prospective students will “understand what they get,” Gregory said. He said the college also needs to work on retention, and figure out what sort of support students need.

For the first time the college will be having its own career fair, and the college will be offering training sessions for students prior. Gregory also stressed the importance of building connections with companies for internships, externships, and jobs.

“We have a long history of helping students be successful, it’s what we do best,” Gregory said.