Of course the big news out of Hofstra these days is that once again we are hosting a presidential debate, and this time it is the first in the cycle of three debates that typically punctuate a campaign. So all eyes will be on our campus on September 26th for that face-off between the candidates.
But life goes on for everyone regardless of the high drama of a presidential election year, and for students and faculty and staff, September means the start of another academic year, which for us represents our fifth year as a School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).
So where are we in terms of numbers? Once again, it seems, better than the year before. Last year I was heralding the fact that we anticipated having over 600 undergraduates in our two constituent departments; this year it looks as if the number will top 700. Last year slightly over 26% of our incoming SEAS class were enrolled in Honors College; this year the percentage has climbed to 28%, even in the face of the Honors program deliberately downsizing by about 10% from its record numbers of a year ago. Our graduate program in Computer Science continues to experience growth as well, reaching 60 students this fall.
We continue to attract excellent new faculty, with new hires starting this September in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, and we hope to add a new Industrial Engineering faculty member later in the year, which would bring us to thirty full-time faculty, up from 25 last year.
Just this week I was privileged to attend our first Annual Summer Research Colloquium, at which undergraduate students presented talks on research results obtained after working as paid summer participants on various projects undertaken in SEAS laboratories. They worked under the direct supervision of faculty, who also devoted a good part of their summer break from teaching to accomplish research objectives. It is part of a transformation that is well under way to reposition our school from being recognized not only as a great teaching institution but also as a place where undergraduates can experience high level scientific training, which is of course especially useful for those interested in pursuing advanced degrees.
Finally I want to mention that we are preparing for another event, perhaps not quite as portentous as a presidential debate, but one which is of paramount importance to us as educators. We are hosting the Fall 2016 American Society for Engineering Education Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference on October 21st and 22nd. It serves as an opportunity for many of our faculty to share ideas with colleagues from other institutions, and also to showcase some of our fine facilities through workshops and other activities over the two day event.
So a busy autumn awaits us, and I look forward to the start of the school year with many new faces among our students and several among our faculty and staff, and a variety of new enterprises which I will be using later blogs to talk about in some detail.