2021: A Year of Reflection, Collaboration and New Beginnings!
What an extraordinary year it has been! This fall, it’s been incredibly rewarding to greet our faculty and staff, many of whom had not seen each other in a very long time, and to welcome our students back to campus to resume in-person learning and campus life as we know it.
With a new university President, Provost and leadership here in CEAS, it’s been a year of enormous change. At the same time, we found new ways to come together again to teach, to learn and share our successes, to celebrate important milestones, to engage students; and collaborate with faculty across disciplines. In this year of tremendous change, we not only survived but thrived .
CEAS is playing important and significant roles in major, university-wide projects like Stony Brook’s proposal to become the anchor establishment of the New York Climate Exchange on Governor’s Island in New York City. In addition, plans are underway to raise funds for a new, 100,000 square foot engineering building that will help define and foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration by integrating students, faculty, and the general community.
High Marks on Student Quality, Diversity and Outreach
Amidst remote and hybrid learning, our diversity and outreach programs charged on, targeting K-12 students in high-needs areas, as well as undergraduate and graduate students at Stony Brook, through STEM-Smart and Women in Science Engineering (WISE) Honors . In fact, in the 2020-21 academic year, the STEM Smart family of programs served more than 750 students, and renewed funding from the New York State Education Department will support upwards of 3,750 students in our STEM-Smart programs over the next five years.
Enrollment of women undergraduate students in CEAS is tracking ahead of the U.S. average and applications and admits for underrepresented minorities are also up . Our prestigious Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors program is approaching a total of nearly 400 students this year, representing growth in both new and currently enrolled students.
We are advancing experiential learning and cross-disciplinary study through our Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program . Launched in 2019 with 53 students, VIP now encompasses 350 students from 39 majors, along with faculty from 25 departments and six Stony Brook colleges and schools.
With student programs like these, and our high marks on student quality, CEAS is making a critical impact on technology education in New York State and nationwide. The average high school GPA for our incoming freshmen rose to 96.8%, up 0.4 percentage points from last year and 1.5 percentage points over the last five years. Our four-year graduation rate continues to rise, now at 68.5% and up 18 percentage points over the last five years, due in part to our sustained commitment to comprehensive advising and faculty mentoring.
Together with our position as the #1 producer of engineering and applied science bachelors degrees in New York State for the fourth consecutive year, we continue to fuel the innovation pipeline with talented and motivated graduates, eager and prepared to tackle the biggest challenges of our time.
Unparalleled Faculty Success, Record-breaking research
Our faculty is engaged in cross-disciplinary collaboration that both strengthens our research enterprise and demonstrates to our students how complicated programs are solved in the modern world. Research expenditures are at an all-time high of $47 million and are up 47% since 2016. Equally impressive, research expenditures per faculty continue to rise, up 46% from 2016. A sample of the game-changing initiatives our faculty are advancing include:
- Protecting the Energy Grid with AI
- Clean Energy Alternatives with Hydrogen
- Renewable Ocean Energy Research
- Battery Storage for Zero Emissions Vehicles
- Safe, Cost-effective Nuclear Energy
- AI Research on Social Biases
- Biopolymer-Enhanced Soil
- Detecting Social Bots
As we begin to think about what our “new normal” is, we reflect on what the pandemic has taught us, both in what we do and how we do it. We have been forced to create new paradigms in how we work together that have the potential to redefine higher education. This is true innovation! But it would not be possible without the hard work, dedication and perseverance of our staff, who are the best in the business, as well as the relentless drive and commitment to excellence of our world-class faculty. It is my hope that we can build on the challenges we’ve overcome and create new opportunities for our students and faculty alike.
I wish you and your families a relaxing, safe and enjoyable holiday season.
Here’s to new beginnings in the year ahead!