Happy New Year!
As we finally bid 2020 goodbye and usher in the new year, I hope this note finds you and your family safe and well.
It goes without saying that last year had been a year unlike any other. With the pandemic forcing us to adapt to remote learning and teaching mid-March, students, faculty and staff at UCLA Samueli have adjusted swiftly with ingenuity and resilience.
Our students have been doing remote learning and club activities to stay engaged. Our faculty members have offered both synchronous and asynchronous lectures, virtual office hours and discussion sessions. Essential research continues at the school, where students, post-docs and faculty are able to continue in-person lab work, albeit at low density.
Engineers are problem solvers. At UCLA, we have not shied away from challenges presented by COVID.
The new year brings the promise of vaccines against COVID-19 and the hope that we can return to normal soon. While we welcome the great news of vaccines being deployed to our front-line health care workers and the most vulnerable in our community, we began the winter quarter this week remotely in accordance to public health guidelines. There is simply no higher priority than the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. We check in regularly with our students to ensure everything is going well and that they are getting the support they need to continue to thrive.
Engineers are problem solvers. At UCLA, we have not shied away from challenges presented by COVID. Our computer scientists and engineers have been collaborating with colleagues at the David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Health to develop urgently needed personal protective equipment, cutting-edge testing methods, predictive models adopted by the CDC, and vaccine boosters. And there are numerous creative student-led efforts as well.
While we face a number of budgetary challenges in the coming years, the school has much to be proud of:
- There continues to be great demand from highly qualified students for both our graduate and undergraduate programs. As part of our effort to meet that demand, we are launching a new one-year, on-campus Master of Engineering professional-degree program this fall.
- We are starting a number of initiatives to improve the equity and diversity of our faculty and students, including the Mentor Professor program.
- This year will see the completion of expanded laboratory space in Engineering VI.
This June will also mark the 75th anniversary of our first graduating class. As schools go, we’re young, and I am proud of all that our school has accomplished in so short a time.
As Chancellor Block shared in his holiday message, the spirit, strength and perseverance of the Bruin family will empower us as we continue to pursue ambitious goals for our school even during these trying times. I want to thank each and every one of you for all that you had done for our school last year and for all that you will undertake in the coming year.
Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean