Welcome to the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year in the DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at Hofstra University. The past five years have witnessed sustained steady growth in the numbers of students we have enrolled, the number of full-time faculty we now employ, the number and diversity of laboratories we now operate, and the number of programs we now oversee. We are still tallying up the numbers of enrollees this Fall, but preliminary estimates are that we will have our largest first year class again, and our overall numbers look to be close to 800 students, compared with the 300 we had when the school was formed in 2012.
Of course, our mission, which is primarily focused on the offering of a premier level undergraduate education in multiple engineering and computer science programs, has not changed. What has changed is our ability to offer more programs directed to a wider range of intellectual and career interests than we had the capability of doing in earlier years. Let me mention just two examples by way of illustration. This summer we just received approval from New York State to offer a Bachelor of Science degree program in Civil Engineering. Now some of you reading this might be alumni from Hofstra who were hired subsequently as civil engineers, and have had successful careers. Those of you who did so had followed a curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Engineering in Engineering Science degree that was 90% the same as a civil engineering degree, and hence you were able to enter the profession easily. But what is different now is that we have added the faculty and the resources that allow us to offer the complete civil engineering degree. Similarly, if you graduated with a Computer Science degree just a few years back, the only concentration you could opt to pursue was in Leadership and Innovation in Computing. Now students can choose a concentration in Gaming and Graphics if their interests lie in the design and development of video games, or a concentration in Networking and Cybersecurity if their interests lie in protecting data stored online from attackers.
Much of our focus in the Dean’s Office over the next few weeks will be in preparation for our upcoming accreditation actions. Three of our longstanding programs, Engineering Science (first accredited in 1971), Electrical Engineering (1988), and Mechanical Engineering (1988), are scheduled for re-accreditation visits in November, and then we will be putting forward up to four more new programs for accreditation in the next two years. Having so many separately accredited programs will require even more faculty hires, more course development and more laboratory development in the years to come. Existing space is a constant challenge as we try to accommodate the larger numbers of students without sacrificing the small class sizes that have always been a characteristic of our school. But, of course, these are the kinds of challenges I enjoy having to tackle, because they are indicative of the popularity of the degrees we offer.
So next month, at the risk of fatiguing you with a review of the statistics that are a gauge of our growth, I will have some concrete numbers to share with you about how Fall 2017 compares to Fall 2016 in enrollments. Remember also to check the Hofstra website for upcoming Open Houses if you are currently looking for the right school to attend, and to visit our own DeMatteis School website within the next week for the first edition of our E-newsletter, which will provide interesting information about the faculty and students who are the heart and soul of our school.