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GRAND VISION FOR NEW SCIENCE DEAN

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Newly appointed Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Kim Boyer, is looking forward to further developing the engineering programs.

Boyer’s office comes alongside the New York State Education Department’s approval of a computer engineering program in the summer of 2016. The program adds to the college’s current degrees in computer science and information science, according to the dean. Over the next few years, Boyer looks to incorporate electrical engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and industrial and systems engineering. He hopes to offer bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in each discipline.

In the next four to five years, Boyer projects that there will be 1,600 to 1,800 students enrolled over the span of the college’s engineering programs with around 60 to 65 professors. Fourteen professors were brought into the college this fall, bringing the current total to around 30, according to Boyer.

Ensuring the college can pay for this growth, Boyer noted that the college is “scaling the faculty growth with the student growth. We’re not going to just put all this on the credit card and hope students show up.”

Like Boyer, the new faculty members bring diverse backgrounds.

“They came here because they’re excited for the opportunity to build something new,” said Boyer who indicated his enthusiasm for developing the new college alongside these faculty members, and how it will be “transformational for this university.”

Students entering the college can expect to receive a comprehensive background in engineering and applied sciences, with problem solving as a vital part of their education.

“Students will learn to take a problem apart into its pieces and solve the pieces to put things back together,” said Boyer. This is a skill that provides many different career pathways, allowing students to go on to medical school, management, or even law school. 

During their time at the college, students will complete a Capstone Design Experience, which is required for accreditation. Boyer described this as a “realistic exercise,” encouraging collaboration among interdisciplinary teams, which simulates the social context and problem solving of a real world job experience. 

Interest in the college is ever escalating. Boyer and his secretary, Angela St. John, have received countless requests and suggestions for the college. While Boyer is eager to reach new developments, he is currently focused on setting a firm foundation to develop the college.

“We have to come from a strong core, and once we get there, then we’ll think about these other things. So we’ll see, but anything’s possible,” he said.

Boyer is thinking long-term for the college; he wants to prepare students for a 30 to 40-year career, especially since well-roundedness is a vital quality in engineering. Students in the college will not be restricted to learning in one particular area; they will learn math, physics, and many aspects of engineering science.

He is also thinking broadly, “I have to think like the dean of the whole college, I can’t think like the guy who’s very interested in computer imaging understanding.”

For future years, Boyer hopes to increase promotion of the programs within the college. This year he was unable to promote the new program as much as he would have liked because he had to wait for the State Education Department’s approval.

Already the college is cooperating with the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, allowing engineering students to branch off and take classes in that area.

“We look to collaborate or cooperate with pretty much anybody; we want to be good neighbors and so forth.,” the dean said. 

Boyer believes the recent developments and those to come will “really change things and make [the college] better for everybody.”

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Elise Coombs, a Syracuse native, is the editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press. She is the co-Vice President of the UAlbany Mock Trial team, a member of Presidential Honors Society, and a peer mentor for the pre-law section of Writing and Critical Inquiry. After her time at UAlbany, she plans to go to law school and become a First Amendment lawyer.

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