In fall 2023, we welcomed our largest incoming class of students. This enrollment surge is wonderful, as we take pride in our programs’ openness and accessibility to students wishing to pursue degrees in engineering and computer science. However, the high number of students being admitted to our college requires that we focus on supporting and retaining them. That means making sure our students are aware of the academic support services provided by the college, such as tutoring, advising, and supplemental instruction programs. We just added three more advisors and an assistant director at the Student Success Center, and students also have opportunities to meet with faculty members, department chairs, and our associate dean.
If you’ve been following our college news, you’re aware that we plan to construct the new ECS Innovation Hub. This space will be very meaningful: It will provide our students with greater choice and agency within their learning environment. We’ve made lots of progress over the summer, engaging in fascinating, detailed conversations about the transformative possibilities this project will provide our college.
We’ve been using the word “innovation” quite a bit in our description of this new building. The physical structure itself will be innovative, with the capacity to regularly evolve to respond to new technologies and industry demands; however, we are busy planning for an even larger impact – beyond the new hub’s physical walls. We’ve invested in and prioritized developing an ECS Innovation Ecosystem, which will involve launching and coordinating curricular and co-curricular experiences that prepare our students for the fast-paced, ever-changing tech and engineering fields they enter upon graduation.
When you read the stories of Josh Mitchell and Diamond Ly, you can see the potential of our students and graduates. The ECS Innovation Ecosystem will allow access to innovative experiences for all. We know that 51% of the tech graduates in Orange County leave our county after graduation. Data shows the gaps in the representation of women and people of Hispanic descent in Orange County’s tech workforce are significant. Extending into our communities, members of underrepresented populations often lack access to capital and information to navigate start-ups or venture capital funding.
“We’ve invested in and prioritized developing an ECS Innovation Ecosystem, which will involve launching and coordinating curricular and co-curricular experiences that prepare our students for the fast-paced, ever-changing tech and engineering fields they enter upon graduation.”
Susan Barua, Dean, College of Engineering & Computer Science
What if we could de-risk these opportunities for engineers and scientists in our communities and build out educational structures that maximize opportunities for our students to be informed and engaged in rigorous technical disciplines but also to apply that knowledge in a way that launches them forward in this innovation economy?
We can’t accomplish this alone. Initiatives such as our Corporate Partner Programs and competitions such as the Orange County Sustainability Decathlon provide a strong connection to our local industry and give our students project-based learning opportunities. We also highly value our partnership with the Cal State Fullerton College of Business and Economics. For years, the College of ECS has invested in an Entrepreneur in Residence, and with the addition of our Innovation Fellow, we are now building up the internal structures to maximize future collaborations.
Your investment in our college is critical to our growth and to creating opportunities for every student within the ECS Innovation Ecosystem. Our college has witnessed tremendous generosity from our alumni, friends, and local industry partners time and time again. Each investment increases our capacity to transform students’ education and lives through the layered experiences curated by our outstanding faculty and staff. Together, we can work toward a better future.
The ECS Innovation Hub and Ecosystem manifest how the Cal State system can combine excellence and opportunity. Passing knowledge along to the next generation so they are empowered to live productive lives and make positive contributions to society is one of the most noble professions around. As we take intentional steps to expand our physical structures, provide agile learning opportunities, and educate the next generation of engineers and computer scientists, I invite you to join us!
Dean, College of Engineering & Computer Science